Today we publish a story where Judge Albert Wood has been challenged to recuse himself from a matter that was referred to him irregularly by the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.
The matter of Wildland Company was before Judge Charles Kajimanga. However, when one of the Litigants wrote the Acting Chief Justice complaining about an issue, the ACJ transferred the matter to Judge Woods.
This was irregular.
This is the same Judge Wood who is at the root of the current and infamous Chikopa Tribunal which has claimed the career of one Supreme Court judge and threatens two others because they are alleged to have handled a case improperly.
Firstly Judge Kajimanga had not recused himself from the matter and secondly because the ACJ did not have the authority to transfer an active matter from one Judge to another.
The movement of cases between Judges is determined by the individual judge through the Judge in charge.
In addition the Judicial Complaints Authority states very clearly that no Judicial Officer will initiate, permit or consider an exparte communication or other communication made to the officer in the absence of a party to any proceedings concerning pending or impending proceedings.
Clearly the matter concerning cause 2005/HPC/0164 was moved irregularly, and the people involved are the acting Chief Justice and Justice Albert Wood.
Are we therefore going to see a Tribunal being set up? The answer is a clear no and for obvious reasons too, and yet the reality is that the Chief Justice has very little discretion over the handling of matters which are before judges.
The constitution is very clear about the role each judge must play regardless of ranking in the general principle of primus inter pares.
But we know that a Tribunal in this case is remote because those complaining are nowhere near the corridors of power. Those seeking that Judge Wood should recuse himself are not close to State House, and are mere mortals who have taken the most logical step of following complaint channels as established by law. They have asked Judge Wood to recuse himself and if he does not, they are at liberty to escalate the matter through the judicial process- this is what the law states.
State House does not feature anywhere.
…………Bogus travel embargo…………….
The Government should not play politics with our courts and the Judiciary.
The statement by General Miyanda was very clear and un-ambiguous. If the Government had issues with former President Rupiah Banda, these should have been addressed inside a court of law and not outside.
Our courts of law interpret the law, and if indeed there were grounds for a “travel embargo” overriding the constitution, these should have been explained in court and not by anonymous investigative teams.
There is no such term as “travel embargo” in our laws. Such creations are dangerous to democracy and will eventually catch up with those creating them.