Sata angers Judges

President Michael Sata has been accused of compromising the Judiciary by allowing Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to act as Chief Justice for two years even after Parliament rejected her ratification.

A group of judges said the contract of acting Chief Justice was coming to an end next month and have wondered whether the President would extend her contract in order for her to continue acting as Chief Justice.

President Sata had given Justice Lombe Chibesakunda a two contract which was ending May 2014 as Supreme Court judge and subsequently appointed her acting Chief Justice.

The judges said it was shocking that the office of the Chief Justice had been vacant for two years while President Sata continued to ignore the rejection by parliament to ratify her.

They complained that an institution like the judiciary needed to be treated with the seriousness it deserved and that the status quo was sending a wrong signal to the spectators who will doubt the independence of the institution.

They said for the first time in the history of Zambia the office of the Chief Justice had remained unoccupied for two years since President Sata appointed Justice Lombe Chibesakunda in acting capacity.

They challenged the Head of State to clearly state why he has not appointed a substantive Chief Justice to replace Justice Chibesakunda who was rejected by all interested parties when she was being scrutinized by Parliament.

“We would like to remind President Michael Sata that the judiciary is one of the institutions in the country that should be treated with seriousness and having an acting Chief Justice for two years is something that we have all failed to believe. This situation raises a lot of concerns and the head of state should treat it with the seriousness it deserves.

“The President knows that he is creating a scandal by insisting that Justice Lombe Chibesakunda stays in that office even after knowing that she does not qualify. As judges we know who is qualified to hold that office and it is time that our sister makes a decision.

“ This inflexibility is not good especially that the Head of State has constituted the Legal and Justice Reform Commission which among other things is supposed to look at judicial reforms,” they said.

The justices further warned that it was not possible to attain meaningful judicial reforms when the highest office in the judiciary was involved in a scandal.

They said the Head of State should have exhibited support for judicial reforms by appointing a substantive Chief Justice instead of letting Justice Chibesakunda act for two years.

“We are waiting to see what the President is up to because we know what a scandal this is. There are a lot of men and women who qualify for that position and we wait to see what happens after May,” they said.

Categorized | Home News

One Response to “Sata angers Judges”

  1. Frank Dukes says:

    It’s appalling how the LAZ fraternity wage relentless fight against the acting Chief Justice. I find the fight misplaced and discriminatory against age which has no bearing on the individuals performance which should be the overriding factor for the sake of productivity. Instead of LAZ to fight the age discrimination with the same zeal and effort as is done with other discriminatory laws such as the historical imbalance of discrimination against women and child labour etc. LAZ is busy promoting systemic discrimination against age, it is absurd. LAZ should take a look around the developed world and take cognisance of the age that contributing to the development of such countries where we import the knowledge we depend on.
    Let us as a nation avoid using negative attributes to stifle positive development at the expense of progress. If LAZ has better reasons against the acting CJ, better come out in the open than using the reasons that defile people’s inalienable rights to live long which is the dream of even LAZ members. Exerting all the pressure and resources by LAZ to remove one of their own in the legal fraternity on account of age and not performance is systemic discrimination that all lawyers and the sense of reason should in fact fight against and ensure that the new constitution addresses all discriminatory bad laws from our statutes. LAZ should be cognisant of the rules of natural justice
    Age will never be synonymous to performance, it’s a pit how in Zambia we look at extreme wrong indicators to keep one in employment, later on promoting someone. whilst one is still capable and at the pick of their career let us not lose them on account of age discrimination. This results in massive loss of institutional memory affecting productivity. Let us as a nation not remain slaves to our failed and unproductive ideas let us embrace change with focus on development whether young or old.
    Just as an hypothetical brain gymnastics, assuming ag CJ is removed from office on account of age and not performance will she then be perceived incapable not to handle any matters pertaining to legal functions? if not, where then is the logic to remove her from office on account of age and not performance, considered all over the world as the most critical factor to development.
    Food for thought:
    * Can ag CJ at her present age not form her own legal firm and practice law in the Zambian courts where she is considered old to head?
    * Can the present age of ag CJ stop her from being appointed to a ministerial position viz; as Justice Minister etc
    * Can the age prevent ag CJ from taking up an international posting/ appointment as legal representative for Zambia?
    Let LAZ fight bad discriminatory laws and avoid being selective to what suits them. Noble professions like Law, Medicine, Engineering, Teaching, Management etc take a lot to develop a person to throw them out just like that. Service for such positions should infact be left open just like in politics until one is incapable or they feel they can’t continue. I salute the ag CJ for her patriotism and love for mum Zambia God bless you abundantly. Frank Dukes


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