The judiciary must not harass citizens that are agitating for a clean judiciary because its image was already dented when it allowed government to insult it and mount campaigns against certain judges Douglas Syakalima has said.
Mr Syakalima said threats by director of court operations Chilombo Phiri that the Supreme Court shall be left with no option but to institute contempt proceedings against persons that were attacking the acting chief justice, were uncalled for.
He said it was unfair that Ms Phiri could not protect the judges when the PF administration mounted a campaign against former Chief Justice Ernest Sakala and his deputy Dennis Chirwa when a cabinet minister said that the judiciary was stinking when the two were at the helm.
Mr Syakalima also wondered why Ms Phiri could not threaten those that interfered in the independent judgements by Justices Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna after they passed their independent judgements on a matter that led to the constitution of a tribunal against them.
“Where was Ms Phiri when former justice minister Sebastian Zulu threatened judge Fulgence Chisanga on one of her decisions? No one came to the aid of the judges but why should she issue threats now that people want acting chief justice Lombe Chibesakunda to step aside because she was in office illegally?
“Why should they claim their integrity now when they sided with government to oust other judges out of office? Is it because of Chibesakunda is the preferred judge by President Sata,” Syakalima said.
The former Siavonga Member of Parliament said that the ousting of former chief justices was the beginning of judicial reforms but wonder if keeping a person in office illegally was party of the reforms.
Mr Syakalima said the judiciary should tell the nation if supporting an illegality was party of the reforms that were most talked about when certain judges were being persecuted.
He said that for as long as justice Chibesakunda was in office there would be no reforms in the judiciary and that for the integrity of the institution she should step aside for a qualified judge.
“There is no contempt in asking justice Chibesakunda to step aside because she did not qualify for the position. They have diverted their position to supporting the acting chief justice because she is there illegally and people are about to say anything because the judiciary has supported this illegality.
“It is only advisable that she gets off the stage before things get worse. Why would she want to lose her integrity after all the years of hard work? The judiciary is still stinking because nothing has changed and as Zambians we want proper judicial reforms and reforms that are influenced by government,” he said.
Mr Syakalima said it was very unfortunate that the operations direction could issue such a statement when she could not say anything when the judiciary was under siege from the current administration last year.
He said the judiciary was making itself a target of scorn and warned that this may worsen because they did not want to be independent from the powers of the executive.