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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Judge Mwila Chitabo should have simply recused himself instead of blame shifting

Columns Judge Mwila Chitabo should have simply recused himself instead of blame shifting

Peter Sinkamba
Peter Sinkamba

By Peter Sinkamba

Provided the petition by UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema which is before Lusaka High Court Judge Mwila Chitabo where he wants the court to determine whether his rights to be heard in the Presidential petition were violated is not summarily resolved, there cannot be any meaningful dialogue between PF and UPND leadership. To ensure speedy resolution of political tension in the country, we hold a strong view that Judge Chitabo should have simply recuses himself from handling this matter instead of shifting blame on to the lawyers. In the interest of State security and economy, as well as respect for Bangalore Principles on the Conduct of Judges, it is imperative that Judge Chitabo recused himself.

According to Bangalore Principles, a judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances in which the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding. From the reaction of judge Chitabo when he decided to adjourn the matter indefinitely in December, 2016, his temperament was brought into question. On that account alone, he should have freely and willingly recused himself from handling the petition.

Bangalore Principles state that an appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. A judge should be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity. Indefinite adjournment of the petition brought to question the Judge’s temperament, and for that reason alone, Hichilema has a point.

Further, since President Edgar Lungu has on several occasions stated he will not interfere with the judicial processes to guarantee judicial independence as provided for in the Constitution, we hold the view that even if Hichilema’s treason case is granted a speedy trial to ease the current political tensions which have serious deepened and undeniably divided the nation, there cannot be any meaningful dialogue to diffuse the political tensions whilst High Court petition is pending.

Yesterday, Judge Chitabo blasted UPND lawyers for what he termed as “mischaracterizing” his decision not to recuse himself from handling a matter in which Hichilema wants the court to determine whether his rights to be heard in the Presidential petition were violated. The Judge stayed the proceedings pending the determination of the appeal on recusal in by the Supreme Court. Failure to resolve the political tensions is not good for country politically, economically as well as in terms of State security. Therefore, the adamancy by the Judge is uncalled for.

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  1. The problem I have with these opposition characters is they want to play the wisest. I mean, Sinkamba and others shouldn’t be talking about judges in the media to gain political mileage but should tackle the problem itself-hh!! They should take turns in advising the unruly donkey to behave appropriately. Winter was only correct in his analysis yesterday. Look at Elias Chipimo, instead of always looking like a political genius in the media, he concentrates his energies on developmental matters like his 20% development idea which I fully support and I am prepared to miss work and walk on the streets in solidarity with him!! Sorry Sinkamba, it is not your duty to decide which judge handles which matter-you are offside on this one!!!

    • @Zambian Citizen or @Terrible, you can change names but you cannot hide your stoopidity.

    • @ Zambian Citizen

      Your reasoning reflects your lack of intelligence to understand simple legal principle accepted in all civilized democratic societies in the World and hide your inbred 1mbecility behind offensive and divisive language. Zambia can do better without arshole citizens like you.

    • Why am I not bothered by comments from 1.1, 1.2 & 1.3??? It is what you expect from donkeys: insults and utter rubbish!!!!!!

  2. Chitabo is part of the chaos-mongers. He has absolutely abused his position and there are no comebacks to him. What a monkey!


    • Can you even hear yourself what kind of country would it be if we had to choose who is going to preside over a case? There’s a channel of delegation when a judge recuses himself.

  4. The is no smoke without fire, this billigrant judge is a mockery to our legal system and qualifies our assertions that he is part of a cliche of mischievous judges that have forged alliances with Lungu to kill our democracy. What is so special about this judge that he cannot recuse himself from this case? He knows that if another Judge takes up this case he will be embarrassed to the bone. What a whapped way of thinking from these fake judges.

  5. It’s no secret HH lost the election but my worry is with the fourteen days time frame whether you subtract or include holidays and weekend days it won’t be enough. Simply put it’s a mockery to natural justice. But who’s to blame? Our MPs should take the full blame for having passed this piece of legislation in Parliament. We may laugh at HH today but who knows the next victim ? The sooner it’s repealed the better.

    • It’s you who’s ignorant or you came to know later. Chitabo worked for Kalulushi District Council as it was known at that time. A judges appointment cannot pass without the President’s input.

  6. Chitabo SCJ is perhaps one of the soundest judicial minds this country has been blessed with. Politics aside, anyone who dissects this matter with impartiality will come to the unavoidable conclusion that the UPND lawyers lamentably failed to make their case for the Honorable Judge’s recusal. Don’t bring the judiciary in disrepute because of your own inadequacies.

    • That’s why Levy Mwanawasa appointed him high court judge. Judge Chitabo started with the municipal council as director of legal affairs before joining Mwanawasa and he’s been strong all the way.

    • If you suffer from lack of knowledge, please avoid displaying your ignorance publicly. Chitabo was NEVER appointed by Mwanawasa but by Lungusha. Chitabo has never worked for any Council as you claim, he is one of the dullest lawyers I have ever known seconded by Lungusha. Chitabo’s law firm in Ndola survived because of the brilliant partner he had in the name of Arthur Chiinga the late. Chitabo’ s law firm was known as Chitabo Chiinga Associates. What rubbish are you vomiting? Levy would NEVER have appointed Chitabo as Judge.

  7. Can anybody tell me who swore in ECL as President i have asked on numerous occassions but nobody answers.
    Ndanje khakis can you please refrezh my memory, how many days elapsed before the judges dismjssed. How many week days and how many saturdays sundays thank you

  8. What zambians must know is that lawyers are in business; how do you refuse clients who come to give you business.
    Cases continue in courts because they should as money need to be spent.

  9. ECZ, the institution mandated to run and administer elections in Zambia declared President Lungu winner of the August 2016 11 elections and the whole world who came as observers have validated this and recognised President Lungu as Republican and Commander In Chief.
    PF Government must careful NOT to be destructed by perpetual losers from the agenda of development, I think that’s UPND strategy but sorry development will continue under PF for all the people so that come 2021, it will be white wash bashing as always. What a beautiful country Zambia is!

  10. The Chief Justice has denied involvement in the Swearing in of Lungu. Lungu was illegally sworn in by a Clerk of High Court. Chief Justice Irene Mambilima has been an accomplice in the Mwila Chitabo Saga. The fish rots from the Heard Downwards.

  11. Its a pity that 10 months after the elections we are still talking about petitions in the courts of law. The sooner this under 5 president and his blind followers accept that we have a government dully elected and sworn in the better for the country.
    All this drama of being heard will never yield anything. The lawyers are busy giving false hope and continue making money out of this self created problem by UPND.

  12. @Chansa alas “Hanchaasa”,WHEN DID YOU HEAR THE CHIEF JUSTICE-IREEN MAMBILIMA REFUSING TO HAVING SWORN IN PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU AT HEROES STADIUM?moreover,is there anything to refuse when the whole Zambia and world watched live on ZNBC when CJ was busy swearing president Edgar Lungu?
    You guys in upnd are bad losers!!!Ireen Mambilima is always present at national events near ECL.even today she was at Freedom square at Kamwala celebrating African Freedom day also Live on ZNBC,soon she will be at state house,watch it on TV live.STOP LIVING IN UTOPIA WORLD!!2016 ELECTIONS ARE OVER AND NO COURT WILL REVERSE THAT FOR THE SAKE OF A LOSER HH!!ECZ DECLARED EDGAR LUNGU AS 2016 WINNER,THE REST IS HISTORY!!

    • It is amazing how people can continue stroking a dead horse for so long and not realize that the horse died a long time ago.

    • “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount and get a different horse.” However, in Government, E more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

      1. Buying a stronger whip.
      2. Changing riders.
      3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
      4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
      5. Lowering the standards so that the dead horse can be included.
      6. Reclassifying the dead horse as ‘living impaired’.
      7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
      8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
      9. Providing additional funding from borrowing and / or training to increase dead horse’s performance.
      10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would…

    • 10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.
      11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
      12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
      And of course:-
      13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position!

  13. Ba Chitabo do your parents exist. If the do have the talked to you, if the did what was your response.

  14. It is not automatic for a plaintiff to be allocated a judge of his//her own choice, preference or liking. The UPND does not necessarily need a different judge to consider the case. That is why it became necessary to launch an appeal in the first place. To make progress, how about considering dropping this particular side of the UPND petition? Until the appeal is determined, it is unwise to question a sitting judge. The argument that a judge is biased or has interest in a particular outcome is not easy to defend. It must prove the direct interest in no uncertain terms. examples here include, spouse, offspring, business partner, etc. When there is a possibility of politicizing a ruling, adjournment is not misplaced. The voters serve as the best judges in elections. But arguments on both…

  15. The biggest problem which the country has which nobody seems to notice is to have two incompetent parties, one as a ruling party and the other as an opposition party. The equation will only balance if PF and UPND are out of the picture in Zambia. The ruling PF party has lamentably failed to do what they were ‘allegedly’ elected to do, to improve the social and economic well being of the people, while the opposition has not positioned itself as a government in waiting. In terms of the PF, the failure is very visible and lamentable.

  16. I concur with the Green Party president Sinkamba on this one. It extremely demoralizing that Judge Chitabo still wants to cling on to this case, as if there are no other judges in the country at High Court level competent to preside over this case. The moment he decided to adjourn the petition indefinitely on an emotional note, he lost it. Aristotle’s declaration should to guide the philosophy of our legal system: “The law is reason, free from passion.”

    It is the calling of the profession that a good judge should firmly put emotional reactions aside to their work. Therefore, we expect judges to regulate their emotions, either by preventing emotion’s emergence or by walling off its influence. Put simply, our Judges should never be swayed by emotion or sympathy. Judge Chitabo…

  17. ….continued: Judge Chitabo failed this test, and should therefore hand over the case to the Judge-in-Charge for reallocation. After the emotional reaction, there is no guarantee that that act will not impair his judgment

  18. @1.1, typical of donkey mentality of jumping to conclusions, you are wrong, I am Terrible and NOT Zambian Citizen although he like me holds rational views unlike UPNDonkeys. For the avoidance of doubt by donkeys like you, I am not a member of PF and have never been. I actually have no time to belong to any political party. I do not necessarily agree with their policies and sometimes I do call them offside. But they are refreshingly different from UPNDonkeys in that one can carry out a reasonable conversation with them except for a few hot heads. At work, social circles, politics whatever UPNDonkeys are fixated on underfive and do not see things any other way. That is why I have concluded that they are donkeys for they can be nothing else but donkeys.

  19. Coming to Sinkamba, he would not have gone to his conclusion if he read his own opening sentence in paragraph 2 where he talks about Judge’s impartiality being reasonably questioned. Surely Sinkamba must know by now that HH is simply not a reasonable person and the evidence is there. He is still in court for the same reason of unreasonableness. How many Judges has he called *****s, fools etc because they are not his tribe or because they dont agree with him? Should he be allowed to first consult the Judge in Charge and choose the Judge who will rule in his favour before his cases proceed in court? Untenable and senseless demands by HH. Typical donkey and Tonkey that HH.

  20. Coming to the article, the writer would not have gone to his conclusion if he read his own opening sentence in paragraph 2 where he talks about Judge’s impartiality being reasonably questioned. Surely he must know by now that U5 is simply not a reasonable person and the evidence is there. He is still in court for the same reason of unreasonableness. How many Judges and other officials has he called *****s, fools etc because they are not his ethnic group or because they dont agree with him? Should he be allowed to first consult the Judge in Charge and choose the Judge who will rule in his favour before his cases proceed in court? Untenable and senseless demands by HH. Typical donkey.

  21. Even late incompetent Sata wanted to get rid of these corrupt judges. He brought in Chikopa to cleanse the judiciary, so they blocked him until Sata passed. Now under Lungu they are thriving.

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