The calls by Nevers Mumba and others for acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to immediately vacate that honourable office must not viewed in political lens. Although some may question the timing of the call, coming after the Supreme Court nullified the election of Petauke Central MP, Dora Siliya, the reality is that Chibesakunda is in that office illegally – whether she is interpreting the law correctly or otherwise.
Yes, Chibesakunda must go
Firstly, she is well past her age to be in that office. Secondly, she has exceeded the number of days she is supposed to be in that position in an acting capacity. These two illegalities make it inevitable for her to go. It is simply what the law states, regardless of whatever political problems those calling for her exit may have.
We have many cunning hypocrites in this country. When they have a particular interest in a matter, they will quote all legal provisions in their entirety. They will preach morality like they are the most morally distinguished characters we have. But when their interests are not served by adopting the most logical, legal and reasonable positions, they keep quiet like what is happening is the most normal thing.
We should never forget history. Remember that campaign that was waged to get Chief Justice Ernest Sakala out of office. Even his refusal to shake Michael Sata’s hand at a funeral church service became such a huge reference point for him to step down.
Fred M’membe and the quacks that clap for him were convinced that justice Sakala was behind the acquittal of Frederick Chiluba. On that basis they argued that he had desecrated the judiciary. Justice Sakala was insulted, humiliated and finally an opportunity to hound him out availed itself with the election of Sata. Sakala is gone.
Let us also not forget that Lusaka lawyer John Sangwa took up a battle of getting justice Sakala out of office. This, he claimed, was aimed at ‘protecting the integrity of the judiciary’. Sangwa, among other things, argued that Sakala was past his age to be Chief Justice.
Ideally, we should expect Sangwa to continue with his crusade of ‘protecting the integrity of the judiciary’ as he did when he fought for justice Sakala’s exit.
Should we, therefore, believe Sangwa that he was fighting to ‘protect the integrity of the judiciary’ when he fought justice Sakala? We are talking about the same judiciary here. Why isn’t Sangwa as an officer of the court similarly concerned with ‘protecting the integrity of the judiciary’ this time especially that the grounds of Chibesakunda’s illegal occupation of that office are known even by laymen? Dear John, has the law changed?
If it was right for M’membe and his puppeteers to campaign for Sakala’s exit based on their suspicion, what is wrong with Nevers and others suspecting that Chibesakunda is in cahoots with his relative at State House to mutilate the opposition through nullification of parliamentary seats?
For now we can put the suspicion aside. The two grounds referred to earlier are enough for Chibesakunda to vacate the office.
As for Sata, he should be the last person to talk about respect for the judiciary. If he had any respect for the judiciary, he would not have nominated a person who does not qualify for the very office he now wants to pretend he respects and purportedly wants to protect from the likes of Nevers and other critics.
In his response to Nevers, Sata miserably failed to address the most pertinent question on the matter – that of his relative being in office illegally. This is not surprising since Sata’s remote controllers know the illegality and have no way of defending it. The only way is to divert attention from the core issue and write editorials that run counter to a position they held when they were baying for justice Sakala’s blood.
Zambians must demand the exit of Chibesakunda. By keeping quiet, Zambians are endorsing that illegality.