Lusaka High Court vacates injunction restraining ZAF Projects Limited, four others

By Staff Reporter

THE Lusaka High Court has dismissed an interim injunction which was granted to nine Chongwe headmen and a company restraining Zambia Air Force  Projects Limited and four others from doing construction works or further developments on the Lusaka East forest area.

The court had granted the headmen an order of interim injunction in May but vacated it, saying the case was not fit and proper to confirm the injunction.
In this case, nine Chongwe headmen and Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust sued ZAF Projects Limited and four others for putting up structures on the Lusaka East forest reserve.

Moses Lukwanda, who is senior headman Maoma, senior headman Nkomenshya and eight others are seeking an order that the five defendants – ZAF Projects Limited, Kingsland City Investments Limited, Drimtown Investments Limited, Shangrila Investments Limited and Datong Construction Limited should obey protection order of September 22, 2017 and an order declaring that the developments are a threat not only to the Chalimbana river catchment but greater Lusaka Aquifer System.

The plaintiffs sought a declaration that the Busoli people and the general public have a right to access clean and uncontaminated water for their consumption, which is threatened by the impugned development by the defendants.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration to prevent the defendants from continuing construction works in the environmentally sensitive area.

According to the statement of claim, senior headman Maoma and others stated that as a result of the construction going on in the area, there has been water contamination from effluent discharge of the ZAF Twin Palm Housing Project, which was next to Kingsland Project and destruction of the forest which was likely to affect other rivers and impact members of the public.

And ruling on whether to confirm the injunction or not, judge Chitabo said the major interest of the complainants was to protect the aquifer  from degradation but that they did not produce evidence to show that the project will contaminate or adversely affect the environment.

Judge Chitabo said it is not sufficient for the applicants to proclaim that they had a cause of action or that their rights have been threatened.

“The peculiar feature of this case is that the project commenced years ago and the plaintiffs only sought court intervention in March 2019,” judge Chitabo said.

The judge added that ZAF was an arm of the defense forces which is a strategic institution in the securing of the security of the sovereign state of the government of the Republic.
“It is therefore in public interest that adequate facilities are provided to the men and women serving in that strategic institution,” he said.

Judge Chitabo said he was of the  firm opinion that this was not a fit and proper case to confirm the interim injunction order granted May 16, 2019 and accordingly vacated it.

He granted the complainants leave to appeal to the Court of appeal.