The High Court in Mzuzu yesterday ruled that the four Members of Parliament who obtained an injunction stopping the appointment and subsequent swearing in of Fiona Kalemba as Clerk of Parliament (COP) are an interested party in the matter.
The court said that the four are eligible to apply for a “declaratory judgment”.
The court’s determination effectively overrules government’s argument on the matter.
In its application for an inter-partes hearing earlier this week, government said four legislators do not have direct interest in the issue.
In the preliminary hearing held in camera Friday, Judge Dingiswayo Madise heard from lawyer for the four MPs, Wesley Mwafulirwa.
Mwafulirwa argued that according to Section 6 of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) the Clerk of Parliament is the Chief Executive of Parliament and by virtue of being members of the August house the applicants remain an interested party in the matter.
“We were presented by a number of arguments by the office of the Attorney General (AG) on why the injunction should be vacated and one of the grounds is that our clients do not have ‘locus standi’. We counter argued that because our clients are MPs and the Cop is their boss and that they have an arguable case, they therefore have sufficient interest,” he said.
He added: “Fortunately, we have succeeded on that argument and the court has granted our order. The court understands that there was no suppression of material facts on our part. As such the injunction has been sustained until next hearing; so let me not comment much because I don’t want to subjudice the case.”
Judge Madise has set Tuesday December 15, 2015 for second hearing with judgment set for December 18, 2015.
Spokesperson in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Apoche Itimu said government would respect the court’s order as it awaits hearing of the substantive matter.
“As it stands the office of the Attorney General will comply with the court order, so the injunction continues and when we come back for trial we will have all our arguments ready in support of our case,” said Itimu in a brief interview before leaving the court premises.
Two weeks ago, MPs Enock Chihana, Harry Mkandawire, Kamlepo Kalua and Peter Chakwantha obtained an injunction against Kalemba’s appointment.
In the case, President Peter Mutharika is the first respondent and AG is the second respondent.
The four MPs fault the AG and Mutharika for settling for Kalemba for the post. The MPs claim that Kalemba came third in the interview leaving out Justice Charles Mkandawire who came out top.
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