Kunda: HH is portrayed as a thug

Vice President George Kunda has said that the ruling party is determined to face its opponents head on in the forth coming general elections.

Mr. Kunda who is also Justice Minister said the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party will achieve this by focusing on service delivery to the people of Zambia especially that the opposition political parties are not offering alternatives to the ruling party’s perceived short-comings.

He said this on his arrival at the Livingstone International Airport this morning.

Mr. Kunda is in Livingstone to officiate at the ceremonial opening of the Livingstone High Court 2010 sessions.

He said the MMD will this year focus on reforming, strengthening party structures, mobilization and recruitment of more members to face the opponents head-on in the next general election.

And the Vice President has said that government attaches great importance to matters of justice and the rule of law in the country.

He said that the government of President Rupiah Banda is reform-minded as evidenced by the change in the budget circle.

“We are starting the year with a bang going by the economic indicators and the donor community’s pledge to contribute to the 2010 national budget,” he said.

The Vice President said the MMD would not be diverted by vulgar language and unconstructive criticism from the opposition political parties.

“HH is portrayed as a thug. He and his partner, Sata are always insulting, using vulgar language,” he noted.

Mr. Kunda observed that the PF-UPND Pact is not an equal partnership.

He said government will concentrate on service delivery and called all party members to be focused to rejuvenate the party and surmount all obstacles in 2010.

And George Kunda has called for sensitization of the public to create awareness of the value of judicial independence to reduce unnecessary attacks on the judiciary.

Mr. Kunda said judicial independence was cardinal for the country as it attracted international investment and instilled public confidence in the courts of law.

The Vice President said this in Livingstone today after the Ceremonial Opening of the 2010 High Court sessions for Southern Province.

And Mr. Kunda said he was aware that the backlog and delay in disposal of cases impacted negatively on public trust and confidence in the court system.

He said this had prompted government to ensure the establishment of judges was increased from 30 to 50 at the High Court and from nine to eleven at the Supreme Court in a bid to address the situation.

Mr. Kunda also welcomed computerization of the system at the courts saying it would tremendously speed up disposal of cases and urged magistrates and judges to rise up to the challenge and utilize the facilities effectively.

He said government would endeavor to empower the judiciary by providing the necessary financial resources, court infrastructure, transport and other requisites.

“We are for an efficient court system and increased access to justice which are cardinal for good governance,” he said.

Mr. Kunda said for Zambians to enjoy peace and tranquility, law, order and stability, there was need to maintain an effective government through efficient and stable institutions of government.

“We need strong, efficient and stable institutions of government to provide the necessary checks and balances needed to maintain an effective government that is why reforms are being undertaken in all governance institutions within the judiciary, executive and legislature,” he said.

Mr. Kunda said government would continue to adhere to the Rule of Law and respect the independence of the judiciary in the dispensation of justice.

And speaking earlier, Deputy Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima called for the Judiciary to become an autonomous body in all respects for it to be effective.

Justice Mambilima said there was urgent need for the judiciary to be autonomous especially in terms of finances.

She also hailed the High Court in Southern Province for its speedy disposal of cases but challenged the Magistrates courts to work on its weaknesses relating to the handling of witnesses which were causing unnecessary delays.

Justice Mambilima cited shoddy investigation tactics as a contributing factor to delay of disposal of cases but said this could be addressed through continuous training of police investigators and prosecutors.

“Closer collaboration between the office of Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP) and police and continuous training of investigators and prosecutors can play a key role in curbing shoddy investigation tactics,” she said.

Meanwhile, Southern Province Prisons Commanding Officer Costa Chiyota described the conditions in prisons within the province as generally good in terms of food, sanitation and health.

Mr. Chiyota said the province had a total of 91 prisoners on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and 20 on Tuberculosis (TB) treatment adding that a good mechanism had been put in place to monitor and help them with their special needs.

Vice President George Kunda flanked by Minister of Local Government and Housing, Dr. Eustarkio Kazonga and other senior government officials, is this afternoon expected to address a rally in Kazungula district in Southern Province.

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