Zambian court overturns dissolution of MMD

2012-06-26 14:12
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Lusaka - A Zambian High Court on Tuesday overturned the dissolution of the former ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) over unpaid registration fees dating back to 1993.

"The said hereby deregistration is quashed as it was excessive and unwarranted," said Judge Jane Kabuka.

The MMD, which ended its 20-year rule in September, faced being stripped of its parliamentary seats after it was dissolved by the chief registrar of societies in March for owing 390 million kwacha ($75 876).

Kabuka said that the decision was excessive as chief registrar Clement Andeleki could have simply fined the party for failing to pay its annual fees.

"I find the cancellation of the MMD disproportionate, it could not have been taken in good faith and this is a mutilation of the tenets of democracy," she told the court.

"The decision was not in the public interest as the MMD is one of the big parties in this country," she added.

The deregistration was announced less than six months after the party lost power to President Michael Sata's Patriotic Front in elections that ended its 20-year term at the helm of the copper-rich nation.

At the time, it had 53 seats in the 150-member parliament but is now left with 50 following the death of a lawmaker and the nullification of two seats owing to electoral malpractices.

The party won a reprieve in March after a high court ruled that its dissolution, described by former president and party leader Rupiah Banda as an attack on democracy, could only be determined by a court.

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