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The dispute concerned a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed between Kafue Horse Safaris limited and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (1st respondent). The subject of the MOU was the Appellant’s proposed provision of horse safaris in the Kafue National park. In terms of clause 2 of the MOU, the MOU was to be in force for a period not exceeding 6 months from the date of signing. After the lapse of the 6months period, the MOU was to be replaced by a Tourism Concession Agreement (TCA). Failing the execution of the TCA, the negotiations between two parties would be discontinued. The MOU was not replaced by a TCA because the first respondent’s did not sign the draft TCA. Aggrieved by the 1st respondent’s failure to sign the TCA, the appellant made a complaint to the Minister of Tourism. The minister informed the appellant that the ministry would consider executing the TCA if the appellant relocated its proposed business to another site, since there had been a community objection that the proposed site was “an active animal corridor” in contravention of the Environmental Council of Zambia’s direction on the matter.
The appellant filed an application before the High Court for judicial review of the respondent’s decision. The trial judge dismissed the application but granted manadamus to the appellant and instructed the first respondent to notify the appellant, in writing, of the reasons for the refusal to execute the TCA. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.
THE LEGAL ISSUES
The legal issues before the court were both procedural and substantive.
Procedurally, the issue was whether the appellant followed proper procedure in commencing the action, and if not, whether this improper commencement deprived the court of the requisite jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Substantively, the issues to be determined were as follows:
The court dealt with this substantive issues first. On issue 1, namely, the question of who has the power to execute the TCA, the court stated that this issue was common cause. Since the party to the TCA was the Director General (DG), it was clearly the DG that had the authority to execute the agreement. The court chided the trial judge for engaging this issue stating that the duty of the court was to decide issues in dispute and not issues that are common cause. On the second issue the court found that there was no irrationality or unreasonableness on the part of the director. Regarding issue 3, the court found that since the issue of legitimate expectation had not been raised in the trial court, it could not be raised on appeal. On issue 4, the court held that whatever rights accrued to the appellant under the MOU had expired after the lapse of the 6 months period, and therefore provisions in the expired MOU could not form the basis of any relief sought. On issue 5, the court found that the appellant was not entitled to damages because it had not proved loss. Finally regarding issue 6, the court held that there was not a single authority supporting the contention that the success of one ground of appeal cumulatively entailed the success of the others.
The court dealt with the procedural point last holding that the appellant had improperly commenced the action.