Third Term Bid – Can Our Judiciary save the Nation?

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Constitutional Court Judges
Constitutional Court Judges

BY TITUS CHILESHE

What on earth has gotten into our learned colleague’s head? The man seem to have this insatiable appetite for power all of a sudden. What has happened to our humble simple president? Zambians should not think this is a joke because a plan has already been improvised on how the constitution is going to be abrogated through the constitutional court.

People have been asking one question : WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE JUDICIARY? My answer to your question is that our judiciary has always been a rubber stamp when it comes to political cases. Why? This is because judges are basically appointed by the President and imposed on the judicial service commission.

As a senior member of the legal fraternity, I find the situation disheartening because things have become so pathetic in our judiciary. The calibre of judges we have nowadays are of questionable character. 90% are from outside the judiciary as opposed to the Kaunda /Chiluba era when the judiciary produced judges who started as Magistrates and rose through ranks e.g. Justices Ngulube, Chitengi, Banda, Simachela, N’dhlovu, Nyondo. This is how it is supposed to be.

Politicians have always interfered in judicial matters to suit their desired position. Judge Nyangulu was made to rescind a delivered judgement by late President Mwanawasa, a lawyer.

Late Anderson Mazoka petitioned the 2001elections and as we were in the High court, preparations for the inauguration were underway. Sending a signal that the judgement was known. Judge Chitengi dismissed the petition without hearing both parties. Weeks later he was promoted to the Supreme court. Judge Musonda who was one of the junior High Court Judges was also elevated to the Supreme Court after hearing a few political cases. This is how our judiciary operates.

I only remember one political matter way back in 1991were a brave Judgement was delivered. Frederick Chiluba and eight others were arrested in Choma for unlawful assembly, three months before the elections. Chiluba and the MMD thought it was over because their candidate was going to be slapped with a criminal charge rendering him ineligible to contest.

Amid intimidation, Judge Simachela, then Principal Resident Magistrate for Southern Province acquitted Chiluba and others to the disbelief of many Zambians. Kaunda was not happy with him.
Today’s young judges should emulate such men.

I have strived to make this article plain and simple so that a layman gets the picture. I am advocating for serious judicial reforms, an autonomous judiciary. With a weak judiciary, democracy is not guaranteed. The sitting President will always get what they want. Let us dissolve our constitutional court and start afresh by appointing constitutional lawyers to this very respectable bench.

The Author is a Lawyer Based in UK

29 COMMENTS

  1. +7
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    Stupidity is when a supposed lawyer fails to apply a key theory of law to his own situation. That theory is called precedence. We expect that dull chap lungu to learn from chilubas fate of 3rd term and apply those lessons to this silly plan to hold onto power. Zambians cannot be taken for a ride for this long. First you steal an election and now you have audacity to force yourself on people for a 3rd term. To make matters worse you have failed the people. This is not Zimbabwe or Congo. Here you will be eliminated my friend. Te country ya noko iyi. Silly dog ati president

    • +3
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      Stupidity is when a WHOLE country is bogged down to debating an incumbent’s eligibility for an election that’s 4 years away when there’s work to be done in his current term of office. How dare you allow a guy who’s supposed to be serving you to divert your attention to 2021 when Agriculture, Education, Health and the economy are falling apart and unemployment soaring by the hour? Can we stop this nonsense and get back to the real issues?
      Mr Lungu, it’s the extent to which you have reduced unemployment, inflation, poverty, hunger and disease in Zambia that should justify your re-election, than you simply being eligible to stand. Mere eligibility is USELESS if your track record is horrible!!!!!!

  2. +2
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    Even in the USA, appointees to the Supreme Court are made by the President and they follow the President’s line of thinking. In the United Kingdom, a Republican leftist liberal cannot be appointed to her majesty’s bench. There is no black or asian person on the supreme court in the UK. When we criticise, we should do so without undermining our country. There is nothing wrong with the Constitution, what is wrong is the persons. Many Zambians have skeletons in their cupboards and they are easily blackmailed. Skeletons like affairs, inkongole, corruption, tribalism, nepotism etc. These weaken people.

    • +4
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      At least in the US the appointees are subjected to scrutiny through congressional hearings its not a done deal once the president nominates unlike Zambia where the presidents nomination is a seal in itself!

    • +3
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      @ The Saint

      Which other democratic Country Constitutional Court or Supreme Court, excluding Zambia, has nullified right to be heard or principles of Natural Justice?
      Or for that matter, can you please mention name of just one “Republican leftist liberal” with enough qualification to justify his/her appointment to the Supreme Court of England? By the way, do you know procedure for appointment to the Supreme Court in England?

      Please inform yourself before showing your extreme ignorance laced with high dose of unjustified comparison.

  3. +4
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    Reply

    64 flag MunaDekhane January 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    vote

    We told you that Lungu is a disciple of Mugabe and Mu7, there you have it for your selves.
    Lungu’s audacity statements are based on the weak judicial system in the country. The Con courts, LAZ and the judges in the nation are weak, bought out and divided. My profound concern of Zambia’s incapability to hold any credible elections is being vindicated. We have wasted so much time, efforts and resources to improve our democracy for nothing to show up. Its a disgrace to Zambia.

    Reply

  4. +7
    -1
    vote

    Just last week we were laughing at KABILA for trying to extend his rule by another 2 years (after being in power for 14 years) not knowing that there is a WAMUYAYAYA in State House who has similar delusional beliefs like KABILA.

    Is it a coincidence that the poorest countries are the ones with leaders who have had the longest rulers?
    Answer is NO!!
    KK+Now LUNGU-Wamuyayaya – 27years + Wamuyayaya – Zambia – 29th poorest nation
    KAMUZU – 33 years – Malawi – 2nd poorest nation in the world
    Mugabe – 37 years – Zimbabwe – FAILED STATE
    Said Barre – 32 years – Somalia – FAILED STATE
    Mobutu/Kabila – DRC – 3rd poorest nation in the world
    Liberia – 4th poorest nation
    Sekou Toure – 26 years – Guinea – 11th poorest nation
    Burkina Faso – 18th poorest nation
    Rwanda 17th poorest nation
    Dos…

    • +4
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      Well put Maloza, unfortunately Black Africans especially Zambians are allergic to good standards of living, & like a moth get’s drawn to light at night, Zambians are drawn to poverty en masse, & don’t they just love poverty??
      Akudununeni ba Zambia!!

  5. +2
    0
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    People are craving for worldly things. It is only 5 months or so from elections and you start talking of Presidential ambitions in 2021 (SHAME). Worldly things. I am asking you people craving for presidency to Read: Mathew 6: 19 – 34 especially V.33:::: You do not even know the one God will appoint in 2021, It may be an Office orderly, A farmer or Taxi driver or Truck driver or a Nurse: This also tells us that when ever you people in Government go to Church, you are not there for God but something else. Start repenting now tomorrow may not be yours. bye

    • +2
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      And remember @5 Mentor, these are “Humble God fearing Men”, always in Church praying to their God, who I wouldn’t want to share that God, as he must be wicked to be embraced by a such neglectful, & praying thieving Tinpot Dictator like Chaiimani Chagwa of Chawama, aka C.C.C.

  6. +2
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    I agree, constitutional court should be dissolved. Appointments to any court dealing with political matters should not be made by the President. Otherwise, the president will always win even if it is clear that he has done wrong.

  7. vote

    These leaders behave like Nez, you can tell from their language, that there was serious parental inadequacy when they were growing up.

    • +2
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      @ Zee

      Before you read Constitution, do you have enough legal knowledge to understand “and”; “or”; “natural justice”; “independent and impartial” or have you ever perused and understood contents of the Chapter 2 of the Laws of Zambia?
      On the other hand, how can you justify existence of “economic refugees” after 5 years of “unprecedented development”?

  8. +1
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    Look Lungu is just playing on people’s minds provided he has not attempted to file his candidature for president the courts have nothing to rule on as that would be a moot question. So for now let’s just say he is politicking. However, the citizenry can request for a legal opinion from the ICJ on whether a person such as Lungu would eligible to run for president once again

  9. +2
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    PROBLEM WE HAVE IN ZAMBIA IS OURSELVES. WE HAVE NEVER STOOD ON OUR FEET TO PROTECT OUR WHAT BELONGS TO TO ALL BUT LIVE EVERYTHING IN THE HANDS OF THE PRESIDENT.

  10. +2
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    The biggest challenge now is poverty, it has gone to our brains only you the author and me are spared. The rest are sycophants of the worst kind.

  11. +1
    -1
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    Guys,
    Please surrendar Zambia back to Asians.
    We can teach you how to become lich.
    Your lesources will benefit the world
    Jobs will be prentiful
    Food will be abundant

  12. +2
    0
    vote

    Zambian judiciary does not exist. It’s compromised. Our Judicial system is more focused on petty and stupid crimes. We are doomed as a nation. The learned ain’t actually learned at all. Just look at the quality of the President, I mean the illegal President. Yes, Bozo!

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