President Michael Sata has infuriated the legal fraternity by appointing Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to serve as Chief Justice contrary to the law and resolutions by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) which rejected the initial indication.
The president has subsequently submitted the name to the National Assembly for ratification.
But angry Lawyers have accused the president of stabbing the Judiciary and the judicial reform process in the back making the appointment which the fraternity which includes lawyers, judges and magistrates rejected.
The lawyers yesterday told the Daily Nation that it was an act of betrayal for the President to disregard a resolution by the law association of Zambia rejecting the appointment of the Justice Chibesakunda because she was already retired and serving on contract.
More importantly retired judges can not be appointed above the position on which they were serving before retirement.
The lawyers have now called on the Law Association of Zambia to make it very clear to the Parliamentary Select Committee that has been appointed to scrutinize the appointment, which represents practicing lawyers in the country including judges was opposed to this appointment and that if parliament ratified it, it would be doing so against the best wishes of the legal profession.
“We understand that the Parliamentary Select Committee will invite irrelevant groups to testify towards this ratification but it is important that the public should know that it does not have the blessings of ALAZ, which fact President Sata is also fully aware of.”
‘This matter was discussed by the full AGM of LAZ where a resolution was made on account of the fact that Justice Lombe had retired and was serving on her second contract, and more importantly the Law supported by Supreme Court judgement do not allow an officer on a contract to be promoted or serve beyond the substantive positions on which they retired. We know they are people pushing this matter for their selfish interest but we hope the select committee and parliament at large will look at the larger picture namely the interest of the Zambian people.”
Sources in the Judiciary yesterday told the nation that President Sata had appointed Judge Chibesakunda subject to ratification by the National Assembly. The also revealed that the National Assembly had written to a number of institutions to give written submission in relation to the appointment.
“Some of these institution have nothing to do with the Judiciary. It would appear that they are being recruited to support this appointment which has been rejected by practicing legal professionals including judges who feel that the position should be filled by a younger officer who will champion the cause for judicial Reform that the people of Zambia are yearning for.”