The Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday reserved its ruling on an injunction against Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda until tomorrow afternoon.
High Court Judge John Chirwa granted some civil society organisations (CSOs) leaders in Mzuzu an interlocutory injunction stopping Chaponda from executing his duties until a probe into the Zambia maize import is concluded.
Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale challenged the order but Judge Chirwa sustained the injunction compelling the AG to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Yesterday, both the appellants and defence defended their submitted arguments before Justice Dustan Mwaungulu in his chambers (but heard in an open court).
However, Justice Mwaungulu observed some discrepancies in the order against Chaponda forcing him to hold back his ruling on whether to vacate the injunction or not.
For instance, Justice Mwaungulu observed that the injunction was inconsistent in its wording on what was sought by the CSOs.
“According to what is written in this document, you did not actually demand the resignation of the minister but the President [Peter Mutharika].
“There are serious inconsistencies. Everything on the ground is saying totally different things. You don’t have to put the court to err, the judge below [John Chirwa] didn’t even notice that,” observed Justice Mwaungulu.
However, lawyer representing the CSOs, Wesley Mwafulirwa, confessed the discrepancies but prayed to the court to have them modified.
He said: “I take note of the discrepancies but we pray to the court to give us relief to amend the wording so that they read exactly.”
However, Justice Mwaungulu did not respond to the plea instead adjourned the case to tomorrow at 4pm when he would give his ruling.
In a brief interview later Kaphale insisted that the injunction should not have been granted.
“We are saying at law that injunction shouldn’t have been granted right from the outset,” he said.
But while admitting the anomalies, Mwafulirwa declined to be drawn into further comment saying “indeed there were few issues but I don’t want to talk much because it’s an issue which has to exercise the judge’s mind before he makes his ruling on Friday so I don’t want to be subjudice.”
One of the CSOs leaders behind the matter, Gift Trapence, who is executive director of Centre for Development of People (Cedep), said they were satisfied with the arguments presented by their lawyer.