The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has finally asked the Lusaka High Court to declare that Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda is acting illegally and should immediately vacate office.
According to the Statement of Claim filed in the Lusaka High Court Civil Registry today, LAZ says that though the President has powers under article 98 to extend the contract of a High Court and Supreme Court Judge by seven years, the law does not allow someone to be appointed to a higher position than he or she previously held.
LAZ is arguing that since Phillis Lombe Chibesakunda at the time of appointment had reached retirement age as Supreme Court Judge, President Sata could have only extended her contract as Supreme Court Judge nothing higher than that.
On the second ground, LAZ argues that even if Chibesakunda had her contract renewed by Sata, she was illegally on contract because the law says a Judge’s contract ca only be renewed once.
LAZ argues that former President Rupiah Banda renewed Chibesakunda’s contract in 2009 to run to May 2012 therefore there was no need for President Sata to renew her contract for the second time.
The Statement of Claim was filed by former Attorney General Abyud Shonga and witnessed by LAZ president James Banda with hundreds of Lusaka based lawyers.
The statement of claim is now a public document and can be accessed at the civil registry of the Lusaka High Court. It is 2013/HP/1393
The first defendant is the Attorney General and second defendant is Phillis Lombe Chibesakunda. Who knew that the embattled Acting Chief Justice is Phillis?
Earlier, hundreds of Lusaka based lawyers matched in protest from LAZ secretariat to the High Court where the Statement of Claim was being president.
The case will come up soon after being assigned the Judge and the date set.