The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) intends to take legal action against the acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to ensure that she vacates the office which she is occupying illegally.
LAZ President James Banda said that any attempts by President Michael Sata to confirm Justice Chibesakunda as Chief Justice through Parliament was a nullity that would result in breaching the Constitution and would not be supported by LAZ.
Mr Banda said the association had made it clear that it was wrong for the acting Chief Justice to occupy the office and for Mr Sata to send the name to Parliament again for her possible ratification because she did not qualify to be in that office.
He explained that her illegality in office has prompted the association to seek redress in the courts of law because she already served her first contract and therefore it was illegal for her to continue being in that office.
“This is an illegality and as LAZ we intend to take the matter to court and contest her overstaying in office. We have already stated that she does not qualify. She has already served her contract and continues to serve her second contract but the law states that the first contract should not exceed seven years,” he said
He revealed that the association had written to the Attorney General explaining that Justice Chibesakunda was in office illegally but defended her stay in office.
Mr Banda said it was wrong and against the constitution that the acting Chief Justice could be acting for so many months without realising that it was wrong.
He said this was a clear indication that Madam Chibesakunda was in office for her own personal interest and not the judiciary.
“If she was thinking about the institution she would have left that office and things would flow but it is now clear that she was serving out of personal interest and LAZ can not accept this anymore,” he said.
Justice Chibesakunda was appointed by Mr Sata in acting capacity after politically orchestrated calls to oust Chief Justice Ernest Sakala out of office last year.
Parliament last month rejected a request by the Executive to ratify her name for the position of substantive Chief Justice because she was not eligible.
Sources told the Daily Nation that there were attempts to take back her name to Parliament for possible ratification after the first attempt failed because the President thought she was the only credible candidate that would serve the judiciary..
They said the Attorney General’s office had already indicated that there was nothing wrong with Justice Chibesakunda occupying that office because the law supported it.
They said after the failed attempt to ratify her, the President was advised that he could take her name back to Parliament as he was mandated by the law to do so.
However Attorney General Mumba Malila could not be immediately contacted for a comment.