President Michael Sata should exercise his moral conscience and judgment before allowing the tribunal to go ahead, says UPND president Hakainde Hichilema.
Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling in a matter where Supreme Court Judge Dr. Philip Musonda and two High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga challenged the decision by President Sata to set up a tribunal without following procedures and suspending them, Mr. Hichilema asked President Sata for once to search his conscience and listen to the cry of the people.
Mr. Hichilema said that it was unfortunate that the learned Supreme Court Justices allowed political pressure to cloud the ruling which was at best confusing.
“This is the first time I am hearing of such a ruling where the courts have seceded political positions to advise President Sata not to go ahead with a tribunal because of its constitutional nature. What the people of Zambia wanted and the most confusing aspect of this is that the court gave President Sata too much power in the ruling itself. Instead of them making an order they just ‘advised’ which is not supposed to be the case,” said Mr. Hichilema.
He said that it was therefore, critical that after President Sata reads through the ruling, he should stop the tribunal as it would be against the common goal of peace and unity, as the Supreme Court acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda pointed out.
Mr. Hichilema said most Zambians found the ruling confusing and illogical because it failed to come up with a conclusion and a clear cut understanding of the matter surrounding the issue.
“The problem which remains unanswered is that the Supreme Court failed to give a clear cut resolution in the matter. The court gave President Sata an open cheaque in that ruling. The decision which the three judges were challenging has not been responded to. And that calls for serious and not lip service for judicial review. We need serious reforms in the judiciary rather than those that are targeted at individuals,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema also described the ruling as a total circus aimed at protecting certain elements and interests for people who had enjoyed clear connections with the leadership at the expense of delivering justice.
He said that it was not morally correct for President Sata to ignore the fact that those that complained and necessitated the tribunal to be constituted were his allies and it was therefore morally correct for him to make a moral decision which the courts have challenged him to, “this whole process is shrouded in serious corruption and blackmail. It is important for the President to make a landmark decision by not allowing this whole thing to go ahead. Let him return the dignity to the judiciary by doing what is just for this country.”
The Supreme Court on Thursday passed what was viewed by many as a moral judgment was challenging President Sata not to proceed with the tribunal against the three judges in the interest of national unity and considering constitutional issues raised by the tribunal.