It is the spectacular lack of moral authority in this Government that is most worrying.
The entire Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba who is under probe for serious indiscretion is firmly in office as the Tribunal probes him. He is being probed for among other things acting in a manner that undermined the independence of the judiciary. To crown it all he will shortly be addressing a Parliamentary select committee speaking for and recommending the appointment of supreme court judges Albert Wood and Evans Hamaundu . This is totally unacceptable. It is amazing the President Sata has allowed a minister who lacks integrity undertake this onerous responsibility.
Unfortunately he is not the only one. There are other examples like the Director of Public Prosecution who also has cases before the courts of law, yet is serving in a very sensitive governance position.
It is some of these glaring indiscretions which the Catholic Church has rightly condemned.
In their press statement the bishops of Zambia cited lack of political integrity as one of the major failings of this government.
Integrity is defined as wholesomeness as a qualification to hold office or status. It is incomprehensible that individuals who lack such qualification can be allowed to hold office, exercise authority and in some cases testify in as the ratification of judges, Wynter, will be expected to make a recommendation in circumstances which clearly undermine the status and role of those he will be recommending.
It is a patent conflict of interest and certainly a misnomer that a minister under investigation should be associated in any way with the appointment of Supreme Court judges. In this case, it is even more shocking that Wynter will be recommending the man who is chairing a tribunal that has been set up to probe him for abuse of oath of secrecy and office. It is indeed a mockery of the ratification process which is intended to establish the credentials of candidates and indeed of those sponsoring them.
Zambians can be forgiven for making inferences in this particular ratification and it is only proper and in order for the President to consider very seriously whether Wynter should continue in his position and especially in such a sensitive undertaking.
Zambians want a judiciary that is truly independent and free from political involvement. As it stands, Wynter has already attracted the ire of the Supreme Court for his conduct in sending a legal opinion from Musa Mwenye to Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.
Supreme Court judge Mwanamwambwa on behalf of other judges noted that an impression was being created that the court was biased towards one of the parties. It is therefore a lack of respect for the Supreme Court and also of the national assembly that a man of Wynter’s standing should be making recommendation for the Supreme Court ratification.
It is not too late and we expect that the President will do the right thing as he has done before in ensuring that officers who lack integrity are nowhere near the corridors of power because they taint and undermine the functions, role and duty of these very important institutions.
However, as Catholic Bishops have noted the Patriotic Front ignores such advice at its own peril.