It has been learnt that Supreme Court Judge Justice Florence Mumba has apparently refused President Sata’s proposal to appoint her as Deputy Chief Justice of Zambia and has instead chosen to go on retirement in December 2013.
According to sources within the Judiciary, Justice Mumba has for undisclosed reasons refused to be confirmed as Deputy Chief Justice and is merely acting for administrative purposes in the position pending her retirement.
President Sata proposed Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and Justice Mumba to replace retired Judges Justice Ernest Sakala and Justice Dennis Chirwa who were hounded out of the Judiciary last year.
“We suspect that Judge Mumba does not want to be embroiled in any controversies especially that President Sata is still trying to force the appointment of the retired Justice Chibesakunda as Chief Justice inspite of her being rejected by parliament.
“But his situation is not good for the country. Justice Mumba as acting Deputy Chief Justice is going by court rules the President of the Supreme Court of Zambia and her unconfirmed situation is affecting the pace and quality of delivery of justice,” the sources said.
The sources also said that workers in the Judiciary were affected by the anomaly of having no substantive Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. They stated that many issues had come to a complete stand still.
“Even the so called Judiciary reforms are completely stuck. The situation is causing a lot of pain to us. We are fed up of working with the stigma of corruption and we demand that the president appoints a Chief Justice and Deputy immediately who can come and clean up the mess,” the sources said.
The sources said that the confusion in the judiciary is also a poor reflection on the ability of the Minister of Justice. He has not given good advice to the President on the matter. ‘This is the first time since independence that the country has stayed without a Chief Justice.” They said
The sources appealed to the entire cabinet to forge together and get President Sata to act on this sensitive matter. They said that Minister of Finance Alexander Chidwanda must take the initiative to convince the President to rectify the situation for the benefit of the nation.
“An ill performing Judiciary has a very negative impact on the economic performance of the country. Every delayed Judgment costs money and slows down economic growth,” the sources said.
“The delayed judgments are not only killing Zambians in silence and despair, but they are retarding national development and causing a lot of embarrassment to all the workers in the Judiciary,” they said.