The Law Association of Zambia LAZ has appealed against the decision by a district registrar to dismiss the case in which it was questioning the appointment of Justice Lombe Chibesakunda as Acting Chief Justice.
LAZ president George Chisanga said the association had applied for leave to appeal against the Kitwe High Court registrar’s decision that considered the association’s position to have Justice Chibesakunda vacate the office of the Chief Justice.
Mr Chisanga said it was not true that LAZ was abusing the court when it decided to challenge the presidential appointment of Justice Chibesakunda as Supreme Court Judge and that LAZ was seeking a determinate decision on the exercise of the President’s power on appointment of constitutional office holders.
Mr Chisanga explained that the decision by the district registrar did not address itself to the merits of the action by LAZ but only dealt with the mode of commencement of action and that the decision had no backing of the law.
Kitwe High Court registrar Charles Zulu dismissed the decision by LAZ to challenge the appointment of Justice Lombe Chibesakunda saying that it was an abuse of the Court and that it had misinformed the nation by misinterpreting article 98(1) of the laws of Zambia.
“Accordingly it is highly incorrect for anyone to suggest that LAZ has mislead the public on the matter involving the Acting Chief Justice,” Chisanga said
He said LAZ had taken a position on the appointment of Judges on contracts generally and that it did not support such appointments because available verifiable evidence showed that such appointments engendered the independence and accountability of the holders of Judicial Office.
The LAZ president further said it was on the basis of this position that LAZ had taken issue with the non-appointment of a substantive Chief Justice.
“Justice is as much about the vigilant application of the law by judicial officers as it is about perception by members of the public of the performance of the judiciary. The old English law adage says justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done,” he said.
President Michael Sata two years ago extended justice Lombe Chibesakunda’s contract and appointed her acting chief justice.
The LAZ said justice Chibesakunda did not qualify for the position as she had reached her retirement age and that she was serving on contact and decided to take the matter to court.