Erosion of the Rule of law

The decision by the Government to defy a court order which explicitly allowed former President Rupiah Banda travel to Kenya for the inauguration of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta shows the extent to which our judiciary has been compromised.
The state quite happily overruled the court because the separation of powers does not exist any more.
It is true the Government may have harbored fears about RB- but these should not have overridden a court order. Indeed the same people prosecuting RB expressed the same fears about former President Frederick Chiluba, but the courts held firm and the executive respected the courts and allowed him to attend treatment.
It was of course not easy in the beginning because his persecutors were concerned that he would run away, to conspire with witnesses and perhaps have access to the “loot” stashed overseas. The first two applications for travel were rejected, but in time the courts realized that these are the works of wicked, devious and hard hearted individuals.
FJT was thus allowed to travel and his case ended with an acquittal.
The same people are behind RBs prosecution, raising the same scare flags and sadly this time the executive is under their control and hence the judiciary is also under their aegis. They  can therefore ignore the judiciary with impunity.
The Judiciary has become subordinate to the executive a situation that was not envisaged by the constitution which states quite categorically that  Judges,  magistrates and justices, shall be independent, impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law and shall conduct themselves in accordance with a code of conduct promulgated by Parliament.
More importantly the Judicature is supposed to be autonomous and administered in accordance with the provisions of an act of Parliament.
On the contrary slowly but quite steadily there is a palpable erosion of the rule of law. It is becoming clear that the Judiciary is becoming subservient to the executive as can be exemplified by the large number of orders that the Government is disregarding
The decision to stop the former President from travelling to Kenya is the most recent display of disregard for the Judiciary.
Other court orders defied by the executive include orders made with regard to Zambezi Portland Cement where Police were posted to ensure that a valid court order was not served to give advantage to a business friend of the executive.
More recently and perhaps most worrying a request for a Tribunal against the Minister of Tourism and Art Ms. Sylvia Masebo has been pushed from post to pillar without resolution in spite of satisfying the requirements as provided for in the laws.
Added to this is the presence of Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa who is in Zambia at the invitation of the executive to undertake a task that is the result of a judicial decision that could either have been appealed or raised through the normal Judicial Complaints Commission.
There is a worrying tendency to personalize the law rather than provide the institutional framework which should guide the impartial and independent operation of the law.
There is no doubt that President Banda was stopped from travelling in fear of the unknown, that he might not return, may have met with foreign witnesses or indeed could have met with his  Prohibited Immigrant lawyer Robert Amsterdam.
While such fear may hold some validity, they never the less remain in the realm of conjecture. Since he has not travelled it is difficult to say if any of the scenarios would have materialized.
These same fears were expressed about former President Frederick Chiluba. He was denied treatment in London for fear that he would bolt. Nothing of the sort happened; he instead travelled in and outside the country until his case was disposed of, and with an acquittal. It is only those with devious minds who transfer their crooked thinking on others.
Instead what has materialized now is the perception of a Government that has little regard for the Judiciary and is prepared to disregard the law at any given excuse.
The law and its observance must be put beyond the individual, they must be institutionalized. The law must apply in all circumstances regardless of the personalities involved.
Those who apply the law today must always keep in mind the fact that not a single person is blameless, therefore unless the law is applied with some compassion, love and empathy the same treatment meted to the cruel servant also awaits them. What goes round comes round.

Categorized | Editorial

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