By Major Richard Kachingwe
The Zambian Judiciary is in shambles and there is a dire need to put in place corrective measures before the entire system collapses.
The reputation of the Zambian Courts has been irreparably damaged by some known highly questionable Judges who clearly do not deserve to be Judges due to their partisan affiliations which have in turn affected the implementation of the rule of law.
What is happened to the Post Newspaper and the UPND presidential Petition is credence of how rotten to the core the Zambian Judiciary is.
Our judicial system is a key aspect of our democratic way of life. It’s conceived to uphold peace, order and good governance. Sadly this is not the case in Zambia.
I am in agreement with Chilufya Tayali’s call for an intrinsic investigation to be instituted by the Chief Justice, Ireen Mambilima, to ensure that this costly blunder is corrected in the possible shortest time.
The performance of the Constitutional Court has been an embarrassment to the international legal fraternity. In the presidential petition, they had a rare opportunity to show the world their legal prowess but they bungled the whole process.
It’s evidently clear that a corrupt group of people, who had scores to settle with The Post newspaper, conspired with the Judiciary to shut down Zambia’s biggest independent Newspaper.
The role The Post Newspaper has played in the democratisation of Zambia is indelible and vividly clear for all to see. It’s immoral for selfish individuals to collude to bend the law in order to fix a Newspaper that has given Zambia an alternative voice since the birth of Multipartism in 1990.
If the Judiciary was fair and objective, The Post newspaper wouldn’t have been shut down. Instead, the enemies of a free Press and some contrived elements of the Judiciary connived with five disgruntled former Post employees to petition for the liquidation of The Post on flimsy grounds.
These five former Post employees have been rewarded handsomely.
Some of them have been given government jobs while others are now driving new vehicles when a few months ago they hardly had money for their children’s school fees. All this at the expense of the over 2000 Post employees that have been rendered Jobless due to this closure.
The Chief Justice has a momentous task of cleansing the Judiciary so as to restore public confidence in the Zambian legal system.
She still has an opportunity to save her reputation of presiding over the most questionable judicial bench in the history of the Zambian legal system. All she has to do is ensure The Post Newspaper is rightfully handed back to the owners and allow it to be published.
It’s worrisome that the Judiciary has decided to go to bed with a few fraudulent individuals at the expense of the masses. Not only have the former Post employees been rendered unemployed but the whole country has been subjected to gross misinformation due to the absence of a reliable and reputable independent Newspaper.
The judiciary was formed to be the branch of government which administers justice according to law. Our courts should apply the law, resolve disputes and punish law-breakers. However what we are seeing in Zambia is otherwise.
As a result Zambians no longer look to the judiciary to uphold their rights because of the ineptitude and political caderism being exhibited by some Judges.
Our judiciary is biased and sadly acts with fear of powerful interests and the appointing authority. A court’s ability to deliver justice depends on its power to enforce its rulings instead of favouring the ruling party.
We need to revisit the constitution to review the Independence of the Judiciary and the manner in which judges are appointed and removed from office.
The courts are a cornerstone of our democracy. They should be distinctive for the transparency, predictability and accountability of their process. What we currently have in the Zambian courts is a sham that only benefits those that roam the corridors of power.
Maj. Richard Kachingwe,
Former MMD National Secretary.