The High Court in Mzuzu has today rebuffed an application by the State to vacate an injunction which some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) took restraining Agriculture and Water Development Minister, George Chaponda, from executing his duties until a probe into the Zambia maize saga is concluded
According to lawyer for the CSOs Wesley Mwafulirwa of John Tennyson and Associates, Chaponda will thus remain restrained until the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged fraudulent purchase of maize
from Zambia is concluded, or at that time when the court will decide to lift it.
The CSOs are Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), Church and Society of Livingstonia Synod of CCAP as well as Youth and Society (YAS).
Speaking after the determination by Justice Chirwa which was done in the chambers, lawyer Mwafulirwa said the determination was victory for both democracy and constitutionalism.
“The injunction is to the effect that it will be valid until the Commission of Inquiry has finished its investigations or until further order of the court. So long as the Commission of Inquiry is still investigating, then it means the injunction is valid,” he added.
The Commission, led by Retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa, was initially expected to present a final report and findings to President Peter Mutharika on January 31, but the period was extended to February
Executive director of the Church and Society programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Moses Mkandawire, said after the ruling that ‘the CSOs were very happy because democracy had won.’
“Civil Society Organisations now have got the space, the mandate, the privilege to be able to appear before any court and the principle of locus standi has now been interpreted differently, and that is what we have been fighting for.
“Secondly, is the issue that any decision that will have to be made by the executive will not be absolute, it will have to be reviewed and for us that is another landmark decision by the judge. Sustaining the
injunction for us is critical,” he said.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said he did not have time to talk on the matter as he was still busy working at the High Court in Mzuzu.
However, in the failed application, Kaphale had argued that the court should vacate the order for leave for judicial review because the court does not have the power and authority to review executive orders
by the President.