The judiciary has often been treated in a manner suggesting that it is not as important as the other arms of government leading to delayed dispensation of justice, High Court Judge Timothy Katenekwa has said.
He was speaking during the official opening of the High Court criminal sessions in Solwezi in North Western province.
Justice Katenekwa stated that Article 91 Part 2 of the Zambian Constitution provided that judges, members, magistrates and justices should be independent, impartial and conduct themselves in accordance with a code of conduct promulgated by Parliament.
He however said to properly carry out its functions, the judiciary needs to be recognised and treated as one of the three arms of government both in the theory and reality.
Justice Katenekwa said to be fully autonomous and independent a lot need to be done.
“Key among the requirement is assured adequate funding. This is very important in that the judiciary cannot plan properly and execute its plans without adequate funding.
“This has resulted in the judiciary failing to implement some of its programmes, an issue which has led in real terms to inadequate infrastructure, transport and furniture,” he said. Justice Katenekwa said the dispensation of justice was very cardinal for the peace and wellbeing of the citizenry and it was for this reason that the existence of the judiciary as one of the three arms of government along with the executive and the legislative was provided for in the constitution
“In clause (3) of the same Constitution provides that the judicature shall be autonomous and shall be administered in accordance with the provisions of an Act of parliament. The Act of parliament being alluded to is the judicature administration Act,” he said.
Justice Katenekwa said at the moment the judiciary enjoyed functional autonomy.
“I must say this would not have been possible without the good will of the executive, and as a judiciary we are eternally grateful that the successive governments in the country have always recognised the importance of the functional independence of the judiciary,” he said.
And officiating at the same function, North-western province minister Danny Chingimbu reiterated Government’s commitment to taking the administration of justice to the people by ensuring that the necessary infrastructure such as courts were built.
‘’However, even though we as government are committed to providing the necessary infrastructure, we are not able to do so all at once, he said.