Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and her Deputy Florence Mumba, who are retired and serving at the pleasure of the President must step down from office for supporting a Judgment that has contradicted and nullified the existence and essence of the Judicial Complaints Authority.
“They have allowed a situation where friends of the President can complain to him directly and have Judges suspended while the rest of the society must go through the complaints authority,. This can not be law.” Civil Rights activist Brebner Changala has said.
The interests of the cartel, he said, were being protected while the interests of the general public were neglected.
He added that the judgement by the Supreme Court on the need for a tribunal to probe three judges that were suspended is a double edged sword and will not stand on the law statues for too long.
He said the dissenting judgment by the three judges should have been the main judgment on this day in that it was short, factual and based on points of law and the prevailing constitution of Republic of Zambia.
He charged that Judge Lombe Chibesakunda’s judgment was long and went on meandering looking for legal facts to justify the appoint of the tribunal to probe their fellow judges on the same bench.
He said that the judgment will be of mega debate by all serious legal minds now and in future in order to determine the damage by a party cadre elevated to the bench after a long while of wondering in oblivion.
“My understanding of this judgement is that article 98(3) empowers the President to appoint the tribunal without consulting anyone after receiving a report or information from anyone he interacts with.
“It is also my understanding that article 91(2) is there for any citizen in this country who has any complaint against a judicial officer to lodge in a complaint with Judicial Complaints Authority (JCA) which shall in turn institute investigations and later on through the Chief Justice inform the President on the need to form a tribunal to deal with that particular judge,” he said.
Mr Changala claimed that Thursday’s judgment from the Supreme Court showed that the friends to the President could solicit for a tribunal from him whenever they felt that their cases were not going their way in the courts of law. “They would be doing this without any verification in form of an inquiry. This is my understanding of article 98 (3) as delivered by the Supreme Court.
“It also means that article 91 (2) is for a man or woman in Kalingalinga or Kalabo who has a complaint against any judicial officer and should go through the JCA up to the Chief Justice and a recommendation would be made to the President if need be for a tribunal.
“The danger here is the friends to the President will always demand that cases before the judiciary must always go their way,” Changala said.
The civil rights activist complained that this was a direct intimidation and an assault on the independence of the judiciary which shall perpetually operate in fear of the executive.
He said the tribunal was a product of the judgment by Judge Nigel Mutuna’s against the directors of the defunct Zambian Airways (Mutembo and Nchima Nchito and Fred M’membe) in their indebtedness to Development Bank of Zambia.
He warned that the nation must bear in mind that the Zambian Airways directors have appealed to Supreme Court against that judgement.
“The question is, should they lose this appeal are we seeing another tribunal under article 98(3)? And what is the security of tenure for the judges handling this matter in the Supreme Court? Is Judge Lombe Chibesakunda part of the bench on this matter?” he questioned.