Court throws out defence request in Gandhi bust case

The High Court in Blantyre yesterday threw out an application by the defence team to have an injunction vacated that restrained Blantyre City Council (BCC) from erecting a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre.

This follows an injunction that two individuals—Mkotama Katenga Kaunda and Pemphero Mphande—obtained restraining BCC from erecting the statue on the basis that Gandhi was a racist and does not deserve such an honour.

Under contention: Gandhi bust

But through lawyer Bruno Matumbi, the defendants—Blantyre City Council (BCC), the Attorney General (AG), on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Plem Construction—asked the court to set aside the injunction on the premise that the duo has no basis of their claims.

According to a copy of court documents we have seen, Matumbi, representing the first defendant, BCC, argued that the duo suppressed material facts and that in the balance of justice, it lies in favour of vacating the injunction and further that there is no status quo to be preserved in the circumstances as per the duo’s submissions.

However, Judge Mike Tembo observed that the duo did not suppress any material facts as presented to the court and that the court was not convinced that erection of the bust does not change the status quo.

“The view of this court is that the claimants’ rights and the rights of those that revere Mahatma Gandhi are Constitutional rights being asserted on either end…

“The interlocutory injunction herein shall therefore subsist until a judicial review of the decision of the defendants to allow the erection of the statue is determined,” reads in part Tembo’s ruling.

Tembo in his ruling further stated that the second defendants must also file for defence as it is only the first defendants that have done so.

In the Civil Case Number 341 of 2018, Mphande and Katenga-Kaunda are the first and second claimants while BCC, the AG (on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology) and Plem Construction are the first, second and third defendants, respectively.

The court granted the duo an injunction weeks after a movement protesting the project mobilised about 5 000 signatures for a petition to stop BCC and the Indian government from constructing the bust.

The erection of the bust of the fallen Indian nationalist leader was per an agreement by the Indian government to construct an international convention centre in Blantyre. n T

he High Court in Blantyre yesterday threw out an application by the defence team to have an injunction vacated that restrained Blantyre City Council (BCC) from erecting a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre.

This follows an injunction that two individuals—Mkotama Katenga Kaunda and Pemphero Mphande—obtained restraining BCC from erecting the statue on the basis that Gandhi was a racist and does not deserve such an honour.

But through lawyer Bruno Matumbi, the defendants—Blantyre City Council (BCC), the Attorney General (AG), on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Plem Construction—asked the court to set aside the injunction on the premise that the duo has no basis of their claims.

According to a copy of court documents we have seen, Matumbi, representing the first defendant, BCC, argued that the duo suppressed material facts and that in the balance of justice, it lies in favour of vacating the injunction and further that there is no status quo to be preserved in the circumstances as per the duo’s submissions.

However, Judge Mike Tembo observed that the duo did not suppress any material facts as presented to the court and that the court was not convinced that erection of the bust does not change the status quo.

“The view of this court is that the claimants’ rights and the rights of those that revere Mahatma Gandhi are Constitutional rights being asserted on either end…

“The interlocutory injunction herein shall therefore subsist until a judicial review of the decision of the defendants to allow the erection of the statue is determined,” reads in part Tembo’s ruling.

Tembo in his ruling further stated that the second defendants must also file for defence as it is only the first defendants that have done so.

In the Civil Case Number 341 of 2018, Mphande and Katenga-Kaunda are the first and second claimants while BCC, the AG (on behalf of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology) and Plem Construction are the first, second and third defendants, respectively.

The court granted the duo an injunction weeks after a movement protesting the project mobilised about 5 000 signatures for a petition to stop BCC and the Indian government from constructing the bust.

The erection of the bust of the fallen Indian nationalist leader was per an agreement by the Indian government to construct an international convention centre in Blantyre. n

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