JUDGING JUDGE CHIKOPA
[Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda – 10th May 2013]
As I see it, even though Thursday’s judgement by the Supreme Court allowed the appeal by the State, my humble view is that the Dissenting Judgements by Supreme Court Judges Mr Justice Mwanamwambwa, Mesdames Justices Chibomba and Muyovwe are what should have been read as the judgement of the Court. The three judgments were crisp, concise, apt and devoid of political undertones and appeasement. Since the final judgement has been passed we are all free now to scrutinise and dissect it; I feel the urge to give a layman’s analysis and I shall express this in a fuller opinion anon.
For now I focus on Malawian Judge Chikopa, who has stayed in the country and even been paid a lot of our Kwachas from around April 2012 to May 2013. Following the establishment of the so-called Chikopa Tribunal, there was an outcry in the progressive and non-partisan media against the manner in which the President had acted; there were justified screams of “Chikopa Go Home, etc etc”. In other Constitutional Democracies, such as Zambia is, the Executive would have revisited their action but not here. Some of the questions now are: Who is responsible for this unjustified expenditure thus far? Who will answer for the prospective abuse of authority in feting Judge Chikopa on his holiday in Zambia? What was he being paid for? What and how have the Zambian people benefitted from this circus?
Predictably the Government justified his stay by giving strange and incoherent arguments. First it was the Chief Government Spokesman Minister Sakeni, who claimed in August 2012 that it was in the National Interest to continue paying Judge Chikopa without him earning the salary. Minister Sakeni further argued that the Government had budgetted for Judge Chikopa’s stay in Zambia. The Minister spoke in September 2012 before the Budget Session but AFTER the so-called MMD Budget Session of 2011! So when did the PF Government budget for the Chikopa Tribunal since the Tribunal was not then envisaged?
Curiously, around 1st April 2013 the Republican Vice President, Dr Guy Scott, addressed Parliament and boldly, with tongue in cheek, revealed that “the Tribunal was on”. What did he know at that time when the Supreme Court had not yet sat or delivered their judgement? Was he privy to the judgement then or has Government influenced Thursday’s outcome? We need answers, and a live question-and-answer interview would be most ideal!
But why must the Zambian people judge Judge Chikopa? First because it is their money being squandered; second because Judge Chikopa has been in Zambia, pretending to be awaiting the Supreme Court judgement for him to commence the hearing of a tribunal that was contentious from the beginning, the Supreme Court judgement not withstanding; third because he does NOT hail from far away Iceland but is from our next door neighbour, Malawi, where he could have easily awaited the outcome of the Judgement and be able to return within hours; fourth he seems to have no conscience about pocketing money meant for the well-being of poor Zambians; fifth, his stay in Zambia for over one solid year suggests an unusual enthusiasm to do His Master’s Bidding; sixth and last but not least, Judge Chikopa must be personally found culpable for being an accomplice to a predetermined executive mischief.
Tribunals and Courts must never be used as brooms for sweeping political dirt under the carpet. Chikopa must go back with his worn out broom to wherever he came from!
[10TH MAY 2013]