THE Supreme Court has sent back to the Lusaka High Court the case in which presidential hopeful Miles Sampa challenged the consent judgment that declared Minister of Defence Edgar Lungu as Patriotic Front (PF) president.
This is in a matter in which Mr Sampa appealed to the Supreme Court against two High Court decisions which dismissed his application and two others who wanted to join proceedings as interveners
The two others are Kasama Central member of Parliament Geoffrey Mwamba and former diplomat Selemani Phangula
When the matter came up for judgment yesterday, the Supreme Court sent back the matter to the High Court to determine whether Mr Sampa should be joined to the proceedings and that this should be done by hearing the other party.
“In our view, therefore, this matter ought to be sent back to the learned Judge to consider inter parte the application that was before her. For that reason we leave the decision on the arguments relating to knowledge of the proceedings and interest to the lower court,” Supreme Court judge Evans Hamaundu said.
Mr Justice Hamaundu, who delivered the majority judgment, said High Court judge Mungeni Mulenga only heard Mr Sampa when the application was an inter parte (two-fold) and that it would have been in tune for her to hear the respondent’s argument.
He said it would have been after considering the opposing facts that Ms Justice Mulenga would have proceeded to determine whether or not Mr Sampa, Mr Mwamba and Mr Phangula had sufficient interest.
Mr Justice Hamaundu said by approaching the application from a jurisdictional point of view and holding that the application was misconceived, Ms Justice Mulenga did not consider the reasons that the appellants had put forward for wanting to join the proceedings.
He said the first ground of appeal had merit as the lower court was wrong to hold that the application was misconceived.
Mr Justice Hamaundu, however, said the second and third grounds of appeal had no merit as a judge can hear a matter without oral submissions as the principal source of evidence in judicial reviews is from affidavits.
“In our view, it would have been in tune with the administration of justice to have waited for the respondents to file an affidavit in opposition after service, but the learned judge decided the matter ex parte technically,” he said.
And in a minority judgment from the bench delivered by Supreme Court judge Albert Wood, it was ruled that it is not necessary or expedient, only to refer the case to the High Court but that the Supreme Court could decide whether or not to join the appellants.
Mr Justice Wood said the Supreme Court can join Mr Sampa to the proceedings without necessarily remitting the matter back to the same judge.
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Mr Lungu said the consent judgment, which declared him as president of the PF, is still in effect.
Mr Sukwana Lukangaba told journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered that the ruling that Mr Lungu is president of the PF still stands until the court decides otherwise.
And PF secretary general Davies Chama said in a statement issued yesterday that Mr Lungu remains PF president because the consent judgment is still in effect.
Mr Chama said despite the Supreme Court’s decision, the consent judgment by the Lusaka High Court that declared Mr Lungu as PF president and presidential candidate remains valid.
“Honourable Edgar Chagwa Lungu remains the PF president and presidential candidate for the party. We, therefore, wish to advise our members to continue campaigning for the PF president and to continue canvassing for support from our citizens to ensure that our candidate emerges successful on January 20, 2015,” he said.
Zambia Daily Mail