THE Tribunal established by President Edgar Lungu is the best approach to address allegations against the Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo Nchito, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president George Chisanga has said.
Addressing the media yesterday, Mr. Chisanga said LAZ was mindful of the emotive dimension that the matter involving the DPP had taken, going by the wide publicity the case had attracted and the frustration by many Zambians who would like to see an expeditious end to the matter.
He said his association was on record having guided the nation that it would like to see full compliance with the provisions of the Constitution which regulates the procedure for the removal of a DPP from office.
“Following the decision by His Excellency the President to constitute the tribunal in accordance with article 58(3) of the Constitution, LAZ is satisfied that the correct forum for dealing with this matter was used as contemplated by the Republican Constitution,” said Mr. Chisenga.
He, however, noted with sadness the remarks by the Patriotic Front secretary general Davis Chama about the High Court judge Mwila Chitabo describing the statement as contemptuous.
Condemning Mr. Chama for the attacks on High Court Judge Chitabo, Mr. Chisanga said the statement was inflammatory, unacceptable, uncalled for and an assault on constitutional democracy.
“This open attack on the person of the honourable judge is a direct affront to the independence of the judiciary which all well-meaning Zambians have a duty to protect,” said Mr. Chisanga.
He said in taking the position they have made, LAZ was not suggesting that citizens should be forbidden from commenting on the decisions of judges once court cases were concluded.
Mr. Chisanga noted that comments such as the one Mr. Chama uttered against judge Chitabo had the potential to undermine the judiciary, adding that it was a duty of all well-meaning Zambians to protect the independence of the judiciary by condemning such statements.
“However, where such comments are allowed to take the form of attacks on the members of the superior courts of our judicature, a duty arises not only on the part of LAZ but also on the part of all other members of the public who would like to see a thriving democracy in the country nourished by a judiciary which is both independent and accountable to rise to the protection of the judicial officers who cannot speak for themselves,” he said.
He said his association would like to give timely counsel not only to the leaders of the party in Government but also to all other users of judicial services, including the other wings of Government to jealously guard the independence of the judiciary.
“On this basis, LAZ strongly condemns Mr. Chama’s attack on the High Court judges and call upon all well-meaning Zambians to join LAZ in condemning this manifestly wrong approach to airing grievances against judges and indeed any constitutional office holder. We ask all stakeholders in the justice delivery system to take keen interest in the threats that has been issued against these high judicial officers,” said Mr. Chisanga.
He urged the Attorney General to quickly give guidance to Government on the legal avenues available to it in redressing any grievances.
Mr. Chama said it was unheard of and unprecedented for a judge to suspend the decisions of a sitting President and so the Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) should probe Judge Mwila Chitabo to establish the premise used to overrule President Lungu.
He also demanded that LAZ should probe the misconduct of DPP Mutembo Nchito who has been suspended as DPP.