Former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) Kennedy Makwangwala can legally continue acting as Secretary General of the party; High Court Judge Joseph Manyungwa ruled on Thursday and also discharged an injunction stopping a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party.
Makwangwala called a NEC meeting for members who were elected before July 2009 following the dissolution of all party positions.
But the Friday Jumbe faction expelled Makwangwala and former president Bakili Muluzi’s son Atupele for disregard of party etiquette and undermining authority. They also obtained an injunction restraining Makwangwala from conducting a NEC meeting of the party.
However, in his determination, Justice Manyungwa, agreed with lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale submission that Makwangwala’s sacking was made “erroneously” and “not in line with the rules of natural justice” because he was not given notice of any meeting or disciplinary hearing.
“To maintain the injunction could be effectively providing the same relief sought in the main action. We therefore find no reason to sustain the injunction,” said Manyungwa in his 90 minutes ruling.
On the suspension of Makwangwala said the notice by the Jumbe faction to summon the secretary general for a disciplinary hearing was “hardly adequate for the defendant to fully prepare” for the meeting which was scheduled for the following day.
The Judge pointed out that UDF NEC has the jurisdiction to discipline, suspend or expel its members but said the rules of natural justice require that “before being condemned, one should be given an opportunity to be heard, that is what.”
UDF has been rocked in leadership wrangles since Bakili Muluzi retired from active politics and handed the acting leadership role to Jumbe in 2009.