Chishimba Kambwili says he will challenge the de-registration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in court because the move is illegal.

And Kambwili says it is scared little men like Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo who are trying to frustrate him, adding that “they will not succeed because the move is just a minor setback”.

Ministry of Home Affairs public relations officer Nephas Chifuta disclosed in a statement, Monday, that the Registrar of Societies cancelled the registration of the NDC on August 21 following a High Court ruling which stated that the party had an inoperative constitution.

“We wish to inform the general public that the office of the registrar of societies cancelled the registration of National Democratic Congress (NDC) on 21st August 2019. The deregistration follows a High Court ruling of 16th July, 2019 under the case number 2019/HP/0673, in a matter where some members of the NDC took each other to court. The court ruled that the National Democratic Congress had not yet adopted its constitution and for all intents and purposes, the modus operandi of the political party has not yet been ‘birthed’. Consequently, the court found that the NDC has an inoperative constitution and dismissed the case in its entirety for being incompetently before the court,” read the statement.

“…the NDC therefore ceased to exist on the 21st of August 2019. All former members of the defunct NDC are advised to desist from conducting any political activities. Any person who disregards the above cancellation shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

But at a press briefing, Kambwili charged that the move was illegal, saying the Registrar of Societies did not have powers to deregister his party based on the articles she cited.

“She (Register of Societies Thandiwe Mhende) has quoted the Constitution of Zambia, is it Article 60 which talks about intra party elections. Country men and women, how many political parties today have not had elections? Tell me when FDD last had elections? Tell me when UNIP had elections? Wright Musoma, who is always at State House, when did they have elections? UPND had elections 10 years ago so how can she quote Article 60 that talks about intra-party elections as a reason to deregister NDC? And by the way, the Registrar does not have powers under the Constitution because she is not a constitutional office holder. Her powers are in the Societies Act and all her operations are supposed to be derived for the Act. And the Act does not give her any powers and that is why she went to quote the Constitution because she knows that there is no section under the Societies Act that gives her power to do what she has done,” Kambwili charged.

“And I can tell her that we are ready for them, Zambia is not a lawless country, we have every confidence in our courts and that we have decided to go to court over this matter. First, we will obtain an injunction and then apply for judicial review to see whether the Registrar has powers to deregister a political party on the basis that the constitution has a lacuna. The decision of the Registrar is an abuse of authority, illegal and not supported by any law; we therefore decide that we are going to go to court to challenge the decision of the Registrar…we have instructed our lawyers to sue the Registrar in her personal capacity for misfeasance in public office. We are going to take her on in her personal capacity and then she will tell the court who directed her to make that unreasonable decision.”

And Kambwili said it was scared little men like Kampyongo who are trying to frustrate him.

“So I want to warn my dear younger brother, scared little men, (Stephen) Kampyongo, that ‘young man you are drunk with unknown powers, swimming in wrong waters under very big jackets’, power is sweet but it must be checked otherwise you will land yourselves one day into problems. All the meetings you have been having for the deregistration of the NDC, we’ve gotten wind of them and what you have done to us is a laughing matter because it’s a very small setback and the people who know how to interpret the law will show you that you don’t have absolute power to do illegal things because you are minister. You are not the first Minister of Home Affairs and you will not be the last Minister of Home Affairs and this is a clear case of abuse of authority,” Kambwili said.

“And by the way, when a political party is deregistered, we expect that press statement or press release must come from the Registrar of Societies because they have got a public relations office there but you can see that the statement is coming from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Now if the Registrar of Societies deregisters or cancels a certificate and you are not satisfied, you are supposed to appeal to the minister, now the minister is the first one to issue a statement that this political party has been deregistered, how then can you appeal to a minister who has vested interests?”

Kambwili said it was also irregular that the Registrar communicated via the party’s former secretary general Mwenya Musenge.

“That is the misbehaviour we are talking about, she has correspondence that Mwenya Musenge is no longer Secretary General, our new secretary general is Mrs (Bridget) Atanga, why give correspondence to Mwenya Musenge?…You can even see that there is connivance. So as far as we are concerned as NDC, we have not received any letter from the Registrar of Societies. So baliumfwana (they agreed), no wonder he released a statement that NDC does not exist. That’s how crooks are; he receives a letter and sits on it just because he wants the party to be deregistered. NDC will only be deregistered if Zambia is a lawless country,” said Kambwili.

Last week, Chishimba Kambwili pre-empted government’s plans to deregister his party. He also disclosed that his former Secretary General Mwenya Musenge would soon launch a party called Zambia Our Own Motherland (ZOOM).

But when contacted for a comment after Kambwili’s briefing, Monday, Musenge said he was in the process of trying to salvage the NDC by writing an appeal to the Home Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary.

“I would like to take this opportunity to advise our members across the country to remain calm as we try to look into this issue. We have been given room to appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs who happens to be honorable Stephen Kampyongo. We are going to do that although this is the same person that has been abused so much by Mr Kambwili and insulted on various occasions and we pray that he doesn’t take these things to heart as he considers this document. I am a bonafide member of the NDC, I am a founder of the party, I am a vision carrier and there no way I am going to dump the baby by the roadside. So my position is that we will try to salvage the party by attempting to apply, of which we are doing, to write to the minister through the permanent secretary in the ministry and hopefully before the lapse of 21 days, there will be serious considerations that will allow us to normalize our constitution which is a bone of contention, and allow us to get another certificate,” said Musenge.