2 August 2012

Zambia: High Court Grants Masumba Injunction

THE Lusaka High Court has ordered the MMD not to write to the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare the Mufumbwe Parliamentary seat vacant.

The court has also ordered that the former ruling party should immediately refrain from treating area Member of Parliament (MP) Stephen Masumba as one who has been expelled from the party.

In granting Mr Masumba an injunction, High Court Judge Chalwe Mchenga ordered and directed the MMD or its agents to be restrained from alienating the plaintiff until the matter was heard in court.

In the ruling delivered yesterday in a matter in which Mr Masumba had challenged his expulsion from the party, Judge Mchenga further ordered the MMD to stop harassing the MP.

"It is furthermore ordered and directed that the defendant and his agents or servants or otherwise however be restrained and the injunction is hereby granted restraining him from alienating the plaintiff until after the hearing of this matter," said Judge Mchenga.

This is in a matter in which Mr Masumba is challenging his expulsion from the party claiming that the decision by his party was malicious and against the Zambian Constitution.

Mr Masumba, who is Deputy Local Government and Housing Minister, had said the decision by the MMD to expel him from the party was null and void because the party constitution did not prohibit anyone from serving in a Government not controlled by the party in which one is a member.

The plaintiff said the decision by the MMD to expel him as MP for performing national constitutional functions was ultravires and against the laws of Zambia.

He said the MMD on several occasions made threats to all MPs serving in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to quit or face expulsion.

"That the reason I hear for my expulsion is that I accepted an appointment to serve in the PF Government," he said.

He said the action had offended his Constitutional rights to participate in governance issues and freedom of association and conscience.

Mr Masumba said President Michael Sata, using his Constitutional powers, appointed him to serve in Government and that he accepted because the MMD, the party he belonged to, did not prohibit any member from serving in the sitting government.

He said as a representative of Mufumbwe Constituency and its people, he had been contributing towards national development through his participation in the ruling Government structures.

He said his party expelled him from the party without giving him an opportunity to be heard at any disciplinary hearing to determine the merits or de-merits before taking such an action.

Mr Masumba said the decision to expel him was only seen in the public media, which decision was not personally communicated to him but was only informed by his lawyer Mutakela Lisimba.

He said the MMD should be stopped from further infringing on his rights and that the loss he might suffer could not be atoned for by any damages.

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