One of Zambia’s vocal women rights activists, Sarah Longwe, has called on Malawi President Joyce Banda to withdraw Supreme Court Judge Lovemore Chikopa from overseeing a tribunal of three suspended Zambian judges.
Her call comes barely two weeks after the Judicial and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) also asked the Zambian Government to send him to Malawi observing that with the non-functioning of the tribunal to which he was hired, his continued stay is demeaning that country’s judicial system.
Zambian President Michael Sata appointed Judge Chikopa in May last year and three other former Zambian High Court judges as members of a tribunal to investigate the alleged professional misconduct of three Zambian judges he (Sata) claimed acted unprofessionally in the case involving a $2.7 million loan to a local airline.
The trio, Supreme Court Judge Phillip Musonda and High Court Judges Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna, are being investigated for what many see as a crime for having ruled against President Sata’s friends- The Post Newspapers owner, Fred M’membe and Director of Public Prosecution, Mutembo Nchito.
The case involved the Development Bank of Zambia,The Post Newspapers Limited, JNC Investment Holdings and Nchito.
But after appointment of the tribunal, two of the suspended judges obtained an injunction to prevent it from sitting and the issue is yet to be decided in the country’s Supreme Court while Chikopa has remained in Zambia waiting for the court’s determination.
And the rights activist believe Judge Chikopa was just wasting Zambians’ tax payers’ money by taking up a futile cause, according Zambia Reports.
The Malawian judge has been in Zambia for a year and enjoying his life at the uptown Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
“President Joyce Banda, for the sake of solidarity between Malawi and Zambia, please advise your judiciary ministry to advise Justice Chikopa to withdraw from the unnecessary money wasting Zambian tribunal that he has erroneously taken up,” Longwe claimed.
“For instance, the resources are needed to better the maternity facilities and save women’s lives rather than continue to spend on his legal fee and others for a situation that will not benefit anybody in the end.”
Chikopa’s presence in Zambia has been a highly divisive matter with critics saying Zambian President Michael Sata should have used other avenues to rectify the problem.