PRESS STATEMENT ON THE PRESS RELEASE BY THE JUDICIARY-9TH AUGUST 2013
The attention of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has been drawn to the Statement issued by Mr Terry Musonda the Public Relations Officer of the Judiciary, in which it is suggested that the Supreme Court is not required to render a report under the Electoral Act, and that the decision of the Supreme Court is binding on everybody including the Electoral Commission of Zambia
To start with LAZ is deeply concerned that the Judiciary has elected to interpret the law on such a serious national issue through a press release by a person other than a qualified Judicial Officer.
Watchdog emphasis: Terry Musonda has no legal qualification but is said to have some journalism training from one of these Cairo road service providers.
The role of the Judiciary is to interpret the law through its Judgments and rulings delivered at a properly constituted tribunal as provided for by the law. Accordingly it is unacceptable for the Public Relations Officer to issue a statement on a matter which may well end up in Court for determination and/or interpretation of their Lordships and Ladyships.
The Statement by Mr. Musonda that the Supreme Court is not required to render a report under the Electoral Act is a matter which should have been left for a suitable Judicial pronouncement or Judgment as it has serious implications and repercussions. This is so because the Electoral Act contains mandatory provisions prescribing the criterion for rendering reports to the Electoral Commission. Furthermore, the High Court and the Supreme Court are superior Courts of our Judicature. They are required to be moved by some known process before setting out to make determinations or pronouncements like the one attributed to Mr Musonda. Even where these superior Courts choose to make pronouncements on their own motion, the expectation is that the Courts will do so while sitting in their capacity as Courts of record.
For the reasons above, LAZ takes the view that the said Press Statement by the Judiciary and the interpretations in the said Press Statements are not at all binding as they lack the force of the law which is characteristic in a Judgment.
LAZ wishes to reassert that it will continue to engage the Judiciary to ensure that its role in the dispensation of Justice and guiding the Nation on the matters regarding the rule of law are respected and guarded.