Expelled National Democratic Congress (NDC) secretary general Mwenya Musenge says the High Court’s decision to dismiss a matter where he wanted a declaration that Chishimba Kambwili is not party president has left the NDC in an awkward position.
Last Tuesday, High Court Judge Ruth Chibbabbuku dismissed a matter in which Musenge wanted the Court to declare that Kambwili was not NDC president.
In a ruling on preliminary issues on points of law delivered on July 16, Judge Chibbabbuku upheld the preliminary issues in which the defense argued that Musenge’s petition was invalid because he based it on a party constitution which was inoperative.
Reacting to the ruling, Musenge said the judgement had left the party in an awkward position as it suggested that the NDC was non-existent.
“We still need a bit of time to study and digest; we didn’t digest the High Court [judgement] but what I am looking at here is if we, as a party, can be told that we have a non-operating constitution, then it is like we are saying that the party is non-existent, because one of the requirements in terms of registering a party is a party constitution. So, if the Court is able to agree with our colleges that all along we had an inoperative constitution, what are we trying to say? So, that is the reason why I said we need to get the people of legal minds to try and interpret the ruling,” Musenge said.
“The ruling happened yesterday (Thursday), and we are yet to analyze it critically so as at now, it will be very difficult to state the position because from a mere person point of view, this ruling has put NDC in an awkward position. And my colleagues might be excited simply because they are just looking at the case as being thrown out, but there is a ruling, and they need to digest what is contained in the ruling, and we will be able to understand that we are in a very, very delicate situation as a party.”
He, however, added that he was willing to work with Kambwili if he respected the party constitution.
“There has never been a time that I have ever said I was not going to work with him. There have been constitutional matters that I have always indicated must be addressed. Certain procedures that must be followed and I have clearly stated that this is not a personal-to-holder party. It is a people’s party so we try to move away from that. And the vision I had when I was forming this political party was to try and see how much we can allow democratic tenets to prevail,” Musenge said.
“The idea was and still remains that we should allow as many people to come into the party and allow people to be elected to the grassroots until we go to the congress where we should be able to elect the president. The president is not supposed to identified by pointing a finger to one person and say ‘you are president.’ So, that position has not changed at all because that is the only way we can be able to identify a genuine leader who is elected by the members of the party. So, my position is that there are mere principles that I cannot compromise.”
When asked if the ruling would affect the NDC’s performance in the upcoming by-election in Lubwa Ward, Musenge said it depended on how the ruling would be interpreted by stakeholders.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know. It depends on how the ruling will be interpreted by us; interpreted by the Registrar of Societies; interpreted by all concerned. So, I really don’t know. But all I can say is that it is a very delicate ruling, which might create a lot of problems for us. It is my prayer that we soon get out of these so that we can be focused on our party,” said Musenge, who is now member of the central committee in charge of chiefs and traditional affairs.