There is no need of having Lombe Chibesakunda as Acting Chief Justice in the judiciary because her stay at the helm of the judicial system was an abrogation of the law, says political activist Dante Saunders.
And Mr Saunders has charged that corruption cases must not be dealt with by the Zambian judiciary because they have failed to provide justice but rather such cases must be referred to international courts.
He observed that there was nothing much expected from Zambian courts when the same officers protected corrupt activities and opted to promote selective justice. Mr Saunders who was speaking in support of former transport minister William Harrington said it was wrong for the office of the chief justice to be led by someone who does not respect the law that protects common Zambians. Meanwhile former transport minister William Harrington has said that the pressure mounting on Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to resign came as no little surprise following her ‘glaring protectionist’ stance of refusing to appoint a tribunal to investigate allegations of abuse of office levelled against Minister of Tourism and Art Sylvia Masebo. Ms Masebo had removed from office senior Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officials in breach of the parliamentary and ministerial Code of Conduct. This condition is not specified in the Act Mr Harrington pointed out. The Act merely states that a complainant must write an official letter of complaint to the Chief Justice, giving his or her name and address and stipulating the allegations of abuse of office” he complained
He added that the Act also clearly defined that the role of the of the Chief Justice was merely to receive the written complaint and thereafter inform the President and the Speaker of the National Assembly, “the Acting Chief Justice rather strangely assumed the role of a tribunal by unreasonably demanding witness statements from me” he said.
“According to many legal authorities from whom I have have sought legal opinions, the Act does not give the Chief Justice any discretion over the appointment of a tribunal once a complainant has fully complied with the conditions set out, as I believe I have done” he said.
Interestingly, he said a good precedent had been set when , when in the matter of the Dennis Chirwa led tribunal appointed by the then Hon Chief Justice Enerst Sakala, no such demand was made prior to the appointment of a tribunal.
“I am of the strong considered view, having consulted widely including with the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) that the Acting Chief Justice has with all due respect mishandled my application for the appointment of a tribunal in the matter of Ms Masebo. I verily believe she has not acted in the best public interest and has thereby provoked me to commence judicial review proceedings in the High Court of Zambia to challenge her negative decision and seek an Order of Mandamus that will compel her to appoint a tribunal as provided by law” he said.