Judge Chikopa’s stay raises eyebrows

The prolonged stay of Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa in the country has raised a lot of suspicion and is worrisome because the Tribunal may not receive a fair trial says a concerned citizen Brebner Changala.
The opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) member said this in relation to the three judges that were early this year suspended by President Sata for alleged misconduct and were supposed to appear before the Tribunal.
Mr Changala observed that Judge Chikopa had spent a longer time in the country than expected and had been in contact with the judges expected to deal with the matter in court and that his regular visits to state house was something that Zambians should watch out during the Tribunal hearings.
He said some people were already convinced about what should be expected as the out come of the Tribunal and that it was the more reason why the Malawian judge was so comfortable to stay for so long in Zambia.
“We want government to assure the nation that the trial for the Tribunal would be fair but the question we are asking is how fair is this trial going to be because the foreign judge has been frequenting State House and has interacted with the judges to be on the bench.
The same Tribunal that was constituted by President Sata to probe the three judges because of some case that was in national interest would be determined by the people that the judge is always meeting. We want to see an independent judiciary and not a judiciary that has been manipulated by the favourites,” said Changala.
He wondered why Mr Sata had allowed Judge Chikopa to stay that long in the country because Malawi was not far for the judge to come back when all has been sorted out and the court has ruled in favour of the Tribunal.
The concerned citizen wondered how the trial would be in the interest of justice when there was a huge team gathering against the three judges.
The trial for the Tribunal was set for the August 28 2012 and the fear was that the three judges may have to face the Tribunal because of the wish by the current government.
Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda and High Court Judge in charge Charles Kajimanga and Judge Nigel Mutuna were suspended in March this year for alleged misconduct after which a Tribunal chaired by a Malawian Judge was constituted.
The three judges had there suspension rifted after the intervention by the High Court to stay the decision by the President.
Mr Changala noted that government should bear in mind that the treasury was being affected because government was using tax payers money to facilitate the stay of judge Chikopa.

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