The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) says it is extremely shocked at the summons for contempt served against its Chairperson, Bishop John Mambo from Chief Justice Irene Mambilima.
Some of the NGOs that are members of CisCA are
Action Aid Zambia, NGOCC, PANOS, Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA), Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), GEARS Zambia, Zitukule , Chikondi Foundation and Operation Young Vote.
Meanwhile, the Watchdog understands that civil society organisations and convened citizens will escort Bishop Mambo to court next Tuesday when he goes to be prosecuted by the Supreme Court.
In a statement issued by Thursday evening, NGOs said that ‘Regardless of the circumstances surrounding this summon, CiSCA understands that Bishop Mambo merely wrote a complaint letter against some judges to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), and served a copy on the Chief Justice, Irene Mambilima and Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) on a case already disposed of by the courts.’
The NGOs said that Instead of summons for contempt, Bishop Mambo expected a response to the letter seeking the Chief Justice’s indulgence on the alleged unsatisfactory manner her officers are discharging their duties.
‘CiSCA is aware that Article 118 of the Republican Constitution provides an avenue for the judiciary to be accountable to the people and surprisingly, exercising one’s constitutional right has amounted to contempt of court.
‘Further, in line with the constitutional mandate, under Article 236, given to any other citizen to question the work of judges by lodging a complaint to the Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) as the judiciary is accountable not only to itself but to the citizens of Zambia, of which Bishop Mambo is bonafide member and was exercising his rights as provided for in the constitution,’ read part of the statement.
CiSCA said that it is therefore extremely surprised that instead of a tribunal or a probe being set against those judges in question, Bishop Mambo is being cited for contempt for calling for their probe. This is unconstitutional and CiSCA will keenly follow this case to its logical conclusion and also see whether a constitutional breach is not about to be committed by the Chief Justice.