Mukula traders, reeling from the adverse effects of the moratorium on the export of the sought-after timber species, have dragged the Zambian government to court.
Government last month imposed an export ban on several species, including Mukula, to curb illegal harvest and trade. The legal action comes only days after government rebuffed the Zambia National Association of Sawmillers’ (ZNAS) appeal to lift the ban.
The Zambia Association of Timber and Forestry-based Industries (ZAFT) has applied to the High Court of Zambia to compel government to rescind the suspension of the issuance of production and conveyance licenses for timber traders.
In court, ZAFT Secretary-General Kalowa Mooto argued that its members who have legal documents and are operating within the boundaries of the law, are being hindered to conduct their business as a result of the export ban.
The timber traders say government’s decision is invalid (ultra vires) as all license holders comply with the terms and conditions of their licenses.
ZNAS has also written to the Attorney General, petitioning him to compel the minister to rescind the indefinite ban.
ZNAS members say they have valid concession agreements and export permits.
The association claims it is impossible to transport timber as armed military personnel are arbitrarily detaining its members, despite them being in possession of valid concession licenses