Chief Justife Irene Mambilima could be in office illegally.
Mrs Mambilima reached retirement age last year in 2017.
The new constitution gives 65 years as the age of compulsory retirement for public officers. In the case of judges, they are required to retire at 65 like any other public officer, but, in exceptional circumstances a judge can serve for three more years when given such a contract by the president. Such exceptional cases can arise when their is shortage of qualified judges to fill the position of Chief Justice. But as it is, there is no exceptional circumstance or anything special about Mrs Mambolina as there are a lot of high court judges who meet the academic and experience requirements for being appointed Supreme Court judges or Chief Justice. A lot of high court judges are more educated that Mrs Mambilina.
Mrs Mambilima was born Irene Chirwa on March 31, 1952 and later married major Mambilima. We challenge Mrs Mambilima to produce the contract that allows her to be in office beyond retirement age.
What this could mean is that all the judgments Mrs Mambilina has been making since last year are null and void. Like constitutional lawyer John Sangwa argued in 2009, a judge who reaches retirement age has no jurisdiction to preside over any court case.
Mrs Mambilina might also be required to refund the illegal salaries she has been drawing from the time she reached retirement age 31 March 2017.
The Constitutional Court already ruled that a person who draws a salary from public coffers when he or she is in office illegally must refund that money.
As for deputy Chief Justice Marvin Mwanamwamba, he is supposed to be handing over right now as he will reach retirement age in a few months to come.
Hopefully these two don’t think taking about their age is contempt of court.
We we also hope that the two are not deliberately trying to tarnish the reputation of the judiciary in Zambia since clearly they are not part of the future.