ORDINARILY our courts of law should enjoy the highest possible levels of regard and respect for their integrity, probity and general wholesome conduct. Judges should be beyond reproach and judgments never doubted. Sadly and increasingly this is not the case.
With each judgment, especially in high profile cases; the public is quickly drawn to seek a meaning.
Judgments are assessed on account of the presiding officer and will be dismissed outrightly if seen to have been influenced by extraneous interests.
Fortunately we still have many senior judicial officers who have earned the respect of the Zambian people, on account of their professionalism exhibited over the many years they have served on the bench. Some of these seasoned Supreme Court judges have even earned themselves nick names and titles for their professionalism and quirks. You cannot second guess their judgment even where it involves capital punishment.
They have survived an onslaught of the Judiciary launched by Western powers.
A few years ago some Western countries which profess an abiding affinity to propriety and good governance, signed an agreement with the Zambian Government to corrupt our court process.
The agreement read:
“The successful prosecution of these cases will depend to a large extent on the integrity and competence of the magistrate assigned to handle the cases. Whilst the Task Force has no direct influence over the assignment of magistrates to handle individual cases, it will be beneficial to have a few of the best magistrates designated to handle all the cases brought by the Task Force. The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions should as far as possible maintain contact with the judiciary on behalf of the Task Force, acting at all times within the limits of the appropriate behaviour and ethical contact expected of the legal advisers on behalf of parties to litigation.”
Since then things have never been the same, because extraneous influence has continued to pervade the hallowed corridors of justice in more ways than one.
This singular agreement instigated and implemented by the so-called developed countries has left our judiciary in a quandary. It has tainted justice and nothing short of a purge akin to the Kenyan judicial revolution will cleanse the system.
Those judicial officers appointed for the purpose of enforcing “Task Force on Corruption” style of justice must be removed so that justice is not only done but can be seen to have been done in accordance with the law and not the dictates of a few individuals that usurped executive power to appoint friends and relatives on the bench.
These are the people who made the country spend US$14 million pursuing former President Frederick Chiluba in a London court which gave a nonsensical $300million verdict on claims that had no foundation in fact or indeed fiction, and yet it was praised as a landmark judgment, all because it came from the UK. Gladly our courts refused to register this nonsensical judgment whose only value was to recover Dr. Chiluba’s clothes. Sadly the champions of this absurdity continue to reign supreme and continue to influence the appointment of very senior judges.
The sooner we have a ‘Kenyan’ style judicial revolution the better. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue.