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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Constitutional Court Judges Are Not Qualified But I Respect Their Appointment

General News Constitutional Court Judges Are Not Qualified But I Respect Their Appointment

Constitutional Lawyers says he maintains that the six Constitutional Court Judges are not qualified to hold the positions they do.

In a press statement, published in News diggers newspaper, Sangwa said he has enormous respect for the judges.

“I have accepted the appointment of constitutional court judges and respect their authority,” he declared.

Mr Sangwa also dismissed assertions that he is an expert in constitutional matters.

“I have never claimed expertise in constitutional matters..I am just a keen follower of constitutional development in Zambia,” he said.

Below is Mr. Sangwa’s full statement

STATEMENT BY JOHN SANGWA S.C.

On 10th March 2020, a story was published in the Diggers Newspaper titled “Lungu Dribbled Citizens – Sangwa by appointing unqualified ConCourt Judges”. The story generated debate on the competence and qualifications of Judges of the Constitutional Court. Since then a number of other stories, mostly false, linked to me have been published in some newspapers and other media. I have never had, and I do not have presence on any social media platform, yet a number of Facebook pages, and recently Twitter accounts, have been created in my name which publish and republish false statements.

I recognise and regret the fact that some statements attributed to me in the publication of 10th March 2020, and in other stories, have caused considerable embarrassment and distress to the Judges of the Constitutional Court.

Admittedly, I have interacted with the reporters from the Diggers Newspapers, mostly when they have sought my explanation on certain constitutional issues. I have also, at times, shared my views on the implications of certain constitutional issues and developments. The most recent and possibly very important contact was in the context of the debate on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. I collaborated with them to inform the country why, in my opinion, it was vital to ensure that the Bill did not become law and most crucially why the Constitution, as it stands today, must be protected at all cost.

Whilst I do not have and I have never had control or a say over the editorial content of the Diggers Newspaper I do, however, have a duty both legal and moral to clarify and provide context to some of the statements attributed to me, for the benefit of the Judges of the Constitutional Court and Zambians committed to constitutional rule.

I have never claimed expertise in constitutional matters, but I have been a keen follower of constitutional developments in Zambia for more than thirty years. I was, therefore, elated on 5th January 2016, when President Lungu signed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill into law.
I never thought there would be a day, in my lifetime, when a sitting President would reduce his own powers and grant the Judiciary, the National Assembly and the people oversight over the office of President. Most notably, see a Constitution that would vest the right in and impose the duty on every citizen to protect and defend the Constitution.

The Constitution, as amended, was immediately tested when it was time to appoint Judges of the Constitutional Court. I was interested in how all those involved in this process would live true to the ideals contained in the Constitution, since it “binds all persons in Zambia, State Organs and State institutions.”

When the names of the six nominees to the Constitutional Court were announced, in line with my oath of office as a lawyer and right and duty as a citizen to protect and defend the Constitution, I evaluated the qualifications of each nominee based on the documents submitted in support of their respective nominations against the relevant provisions of the Constitution.

It was my opinion that none of the nominees qualified for appointment to the office of Judge of the Constitutional Court. I detailed the basis of my conclusion in a brief attached to my letter to the President dated 13th March 2016, which was copied to the Chief Justice, the nominees, the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the Law Association of Zambia.

What is contained in the brief is and remains my opinion, given as part of the vetting process of the Judges of the Constitutional Court. My opinion was not accepted. The President did not rescind the nominations, the nominees did not withdraw their names for consideration for appointment to the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly confirmed the nominations and the nominees subsequently took the oath of office.

The process was completed and the Judges have been exercising the powers vested in the Constitutional Court by hearing and deciding cases. I have accepted the outcome of the constitutional process. Defending and protecting the Constitution is not just about ensuring that it is not violated. It is also about respecting the processes established by the Constitution and accepting the outcome.

I have accepted the appointment of the Judges of the Constitutional Court and recognise and respect their authority. Consequently, since the Constitutional Court was constituted, I have, most likely, filed and argued more cases before that Court than any other lawyer in Zambia.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Zambia needs a Female president with Zimbabwean female Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao’s calibre! She has a great vision and very enlightened human-being , unlike Zambian presidents so far..,who rely on reading speeches , ”written by others” and have no vision of their own.

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  2. Te apa the truth has come out. I knew PF had twisted Sangwa’s facts to fit their propaganda. How embarrassing for Lungu and his sinking PF team. Next year kuya bebele PF, the damage you have inflicted on us it too much

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  3. Pass, thank you.

    More like a $#!+ #01£ story. Anything Sangwa is no story for me. Like sisuwa, like kapya like Anthony.

    Bu!!$#!+ narratives.

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  4. Good morning fellow bloggers. I am taking a much needed break from this website and blogging because my team and I are undertaking lots of work in preparation for next years general election I hope you can all see this message. Have a blessed year.

    Kz
    Director of higher intelligence in office of president

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  5. Edgar has been appointing low class citizens, and we don’t like it.
    HH is coming in with a white mines minister, a white Finance Minister, an Indian mayor for Kitwe, a white-woman Foreign Affairs minister, and you won’t be happy.
    Ku Bantu takwaba fisuma.

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  6. Reading through Mr Sangwa’s statement, it is clear that the statement has been grossly distorted. All Mr Sangwa is saying is that when the current constitutional court judges were nominated, he expressed his opposition to the nominations on the ground that they were not qualified for the jobs and gave his reasons for so saying. But once his objections were overruled and the nominees were subsequently appointed to the positions, as a lawyer, he accepted the decision. Everybody knows that there are always two sides to a legal argument and the court rules against you, you either accept the decision or appeal to a higher court. But in the case of Mr Sangwa, he did not appeal against the appointment of the judges concerned, meaning that he accepted the appointments. This is…

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  7. I read the news diggers content yesterday , the last paragraph of the article,he apologized to the Zambians for being misquote and exaggerate his stance both on bill 10 and Concourt Judges matters.
    Anyway, he showed his maturity to accept if there is any wrong on his fight of bill 10 .

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  8. PF cadres trying by all means to twist what this man said trying to portray it as backtracking yet it isn’t…some dull chaps have even gone as far as clonning his Facebook account….its clear for all to see those Judges are ill-qualified.

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  9. Kanamaso Kakubeka – That’s the modus operandi of dull Sunday and his cadres twisted everything they dont understand!!

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  10. The appointment of unqualified judges to the ConCourt will be investigated after PF is sent packing in 2021.
    -Why did the judicial services commission ignore the 15 years experience requirement?
    -Why and how did parliament ratify unqualified judges?
    -Did the PF use the arrogance of numbers to put them through?
    -Which MP’s actually voted for the ratification?

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  11. Criminal contempt of court should be widely applied. The scope should be widened to be more Sangwaphile.

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  12. The News Diggers twist stories, they’ve a partisan agenda. Our judiciary has failed us, no wonder rogue lawyers have a sizable following. 90% of Zambians lack intellect irrespective of education or status in life. This is the human resource that feeds into all sectors of our society. Why do Zambians excel when they go abroad? It’s the environment. If we change how we do our politics almost every Zambia will excel in their field, even the least educated. So what we’re seeing in the judiciary, police, Parliament, Govt, and indeed in all society is a sum total of who we are. Many people think just being a Minister then you’re a chief mourner, breadwinner, ATM, commanda and everything. This is one of the reason they’re stealing because it’s not easy to be an MP. We can’t expect them to…

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  13. We can’t expect them to change if we don’t change ourselves. Even if we put Hussein Obama as Preside he will fail in these circumstances. Why would the youth run after an MP to receive K100 for junta? If he doesn’t give them then he’s a bad leader. How can K100 be the barometer fro leadership? We have to begin to change ourselves. It won’t work to expect the PF to make a difference when they are also in deep waters and the Board is sinking. That’s why Edgar has printed many T-shirts and chitenge because he sees fooools that will easily give him their vote because of chitenge or t-shirt. We can’t blame him

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  14. Sangwa, it’s obvious by the bitter vitriolic comments against constitutional judges suitability; that YOU DO, consider yourself an expert. For how can you judge unsuitability if you are not an expert yourself?

    Enough already, send in your CV to His Excellency, and beg for a constitutional judges position (advise you apologies to the CJ community you hope to join or they might give you a cold welcome).

    AND WE DONT CARE!

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  15. The only 2 Constitutional Lawyers that I know are Patrick Mvunga and Luduig Sunday Sondashi. I don’t know from where others got the tug of Constitutional Experts. There’s another chap at UNZA who looks like an historian but he’s said to be an expert and lecturer. But then in Zambia when a Zesco employee fixes your stove then he’s referred to as an engineer!

  16. Just like when a lab assistant gets drunk and starts to brandish a gun in the bar he’s referred to as a Presidential Political Advisor. Zambia is beautiful

  17. flag corruption scandals: 48 houses social security cash luxury presidential jet ambulances fire trucks mukula trees ndola-lusaka rd malawi maizegate fuelgate swaziland landgate zesco loans

    Has he been compromised and threatened with a life time bad to have a complete U-turn? Or perhaps his life is in danger.
    This language sounds very apologetic. He ia denying the stories attributed to him in the New Diggers newspaper, but I was in Zambia last year and this dude was all over Muvi TV, Prime Tav and other supposed independent media being vocal and discrediting the ConCourt Judges; Lungu and PF. Independents liked and lauded him as the man for the people who was brave! So this is a remarkable 180-degrees reversal, coming after his practising licence was unceremoniously withdrawn. Only in Zambia!

  18. “I have never claimed expertise in constitutional matters, but I have been a keen follower of constitutional developments in Zambia.” So in your opinion both you and the judges are not experts on constitutional matters? Your comments after your client lost the case portrayed that you were more qualified than the judges. Given chance who would you have appointed as judges to the constitutional court? Not Linda UPND Kasonde please!

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  19. flag corruption scandals: 48 houses social security cash luxury presidential jet ambulances fire trucks mukula trees ndola-lusaka rd malawi maizegate fuelgate swaziland landgate zesco loans

    Hey @Tarino, I hear you on Prof Patrick Mvunga. Please add Nellie Mutti; Mwangala Zaloumis; Mainza Chona; Edward Shamwana; Sacika Sitwala; Vincent Malambo; Zulu and to some extent Sakwiba Saki Sikota to your list. These actually tried or defended actual Constitutional legal cases or sat on various committees and commissions.
    Sikota by sheer intelligence and the experience he gained during KK and Mmembe’s persecution by FTJ Chiluba.
    The rest are not really Constitutional lawyers.

  20. HE SAYS HE IS NO EXPERT ON CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS BUT EXPENDS A LOT OF TIME AND ENERGY ON THE VERY ISSUES.
    AS AN ENGINEER, I FIND THE STATEMENT OXYMORONIC: LIKE SOMEBODY SAYING HE IS A DEVOUT ATHEIST
    THE STATEMENT NOT ONLY CONFUSES SANGWA BUT THE GENERAL PUBLIC
    HE OBVIOUSLY IS A PUBLICITY SEEKER WHO IS BETTER SERVED BY KEEPING QUIET

  21. It is a pity that LAZ has a member named John Sangwa. The Law Association of Zambia must redeem itself from such political lamentations being discharged by John Sangwa. LAZ should advise Sangwa to seek treatment at Chainama Mental Hospital. Apparently,.If this is the calibre of Lawyers that UPND has in stock, then this party is destined for total eclipse in 2021.

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  22. The fact of the matter is there are certain provisions that need to be fulfilled for one to be appointed as a constitutional court Judge according to the constitution. Unfortunately majority of the constitutional court judges have not fulfilled those requirements and therefore are not qualified to be on the concourt bench. They have just been handed those seats by Edgar thats why sometimes the judgements are flawed.

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  23. Who constitutes an expert in a field? In academia it is where a person carries out research. The first step to do independent research in a field is to complete a PhD! In the absence of that you are not an expert. Can the lawyers guide us on how it works if higher degrees are required or not for specialisation?

  24. flag corruption scandals: 48 houses social security cash luxury presidential jet ambulances fire trucks mukula trees ndola-lusaka rd malawi maizegate fuelgate swaziland landgate zesco loans

    @Chiluba, a phD doesn’t qualify anyone an expert. You may research a subject but that’s just theoretical academic knowledge. This is where Zambia comes unstuck because we have so many people spending time and effort accumulating useless degrees. Perhaps in these social fields, but in my profession (engineering), proven and demonstrated competence is more valuable than academic knowledge. And that comes with the “on the job” work experience and youcan be called a ” subject or system matter expert” (SME). Yes academic knowledge gives you a basic foundation, but that is that.

    I once knew 2 phD in engineering guys who couldn’t a job in the field because they didn’t have work experience. They stayed with the universities to do teaching.

  25. Just like I ,

    Spaka ,

    do not accept that lungu is qualified by viture of integrity , to lead the great nation of Zambia , but I respect that through violence and intimidation and cohesion, some gullible voters accepted his dancing on stage as a mark of a leader to provide a better future for them…….I respect their choice , but I do not accept lungu personally.

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