The Law Association of Zambia is scheduled to have its Annual General Meeting in Livingstone this Saturday the 12th of April 2014, to among other issues vote for new leaders.
But according to documentation obtained by the Watchdog, the new LAZ executive has already been put in place. George Kangwa Chisenga is the new president of LAZ.
Last Friday, the PF managed to infiltrate LAZ using named judges and made sure only PF aligned lawyers are ‘elected’ to the executive.
To that effect, new rules have been created within LAZ. To qualify to stand now, a lawyer must have 10 years practicing experience. This is the same qualification for High Court Judges.
This has disqualified the majority of lawyers who are young and vibrant in favour of dinosaurs.
Because of the new rules, both the position of president and vice president have been filled with new president, vice president and treasurer though unopposed.
The following candidates were disqualified after they filed in their nominations: Sydney Chisenga, Ngosa Simachela, Ronald Hatongo, Sokwani Chilembo, Sera Lario and Chishimba Kaela.
Returning Officer Mwansa M. Mutimushi declared George Kangwa Chisenga as the new LAZ president and Linda Kasonde as vice-president since they were not opposed. The other candidates have been barred.
Out going president James Banda has served his two terms.
But what is true is that he is not contesting.
The reasons advanced for disqualification of some members was that they did not meet the criteria to contest on account of years of practice, which criteria does not exist at Law. In reaching her decision, the basis was that the Association at one of its AGM’s passed a Resolution to include 10 years of practice among others as one of the qualification requirements for Lawyers who wish to contest for positions in the Association.
The Watchdog has had sight of the Minutes of LAZ AGM from 2010 to 2012 and has struggled to sight this Resolution. What the Watchdog gathers is that the Law has not been amended by the Attorney General to include this new criteria. What is interesting is that despite the criteria on years of practice being brought up now, Lawyers who do not meet this criteria have contested elections as recent as 2012.