President Edgar Lungu says judges have a critical role to play in the dispensation of fair justice as the country goes to the presidential and general elections on August 12, 2021.
President Lungu said Zambians expect the judiciary to perform and discharge their duties with unparalleled high levels of professionalism that should be inspired by principals of judicial authority as spelt out in article 118 (2) of the Zambian constitution.
The Head of State has since urged judges to exercise impartiality and high levels of integrity in discharging their duties as political players and stakeholders will seek for justice from the courts of law
“The role of the judiciary, particularly, this year when our country is going to the general elections on 12th August, will be critical as most political players and other stakeholders will seek different forms of court relief,” he said.
President Lungu stressed that the judiciary has a key role to play in providing fair justice to meet people’s expectations.
“I am confident that your individual diverse experiences in the administration of justice in your previous capacities in the judiciary will be invaluable as you take up your respective new roles,” President Lungu said.
He said this at State House in Lusaka today when he swore in seven judges for the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and Court of Appeals.
Justice Fulgency Chisanga was sworn in as Supreme Court Judge, while Justices Mathew Chisunka, Judy Mulongoti and State Counsel Mwila Chitabo were sworn in as Constitutional Court Judges.
Justices Anessie Banda-Bobo, Nicola Ann Sharpe-Phiri and Kelvin Muzenga were sworn in as Court of Appeal Judges.
President Lungu has since assured the judiciary that his administration remained committed to ensuring that establishments of the constitutional court and court of appeal are filled to optimum levels needed to run them effectively.
He noted that the constitutional court is supposed to have 13 judges and the court of appeal 19 judges and that the appointments of the judges to the two courts is evidence of government’s commitment to ensuring that they operate at full capacity.
The appointment of the three constitutional judges has since increased the judges to nine while the Court of Appeals now has 13.
President Lungu was delighted that the gender balancing had seen four female judges being sworn in, which demonstrated his administration’s recognition of the positive contributions that women in the judiciary are making in the dispensation of justice.
“With this progressive milestone, I urge you all not to lose sight of the fact that the positions you have been appointed to are not only of great honour, but also come with immense responsibility and high expectations from members of the public,” he said.
Dr. Lungu said he was aware of the challenges affecting the commendable work the judiciary has been doing in delivering timely and effective justice in the country.
He said government will soon embark on a robust programme of constructing court infrastructure across the country to address the critical challenge of inadequate space being faced by the judiciary.
The Head of State also assured that government will address funding inadequacies to the judiciary to meet judges’ entitlements as provided for under the law.
The swearing in ceremony was attended by Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, Deputy Chief Justice Michael Musonda, Minister of Justice Given Lubinda, and his Presidential Affairs counterpart Freedom Sikazwe, Secretary to Cabinet Simon Miti, Deputy Secretary to Cabinet Patrick Kangwa, State House and other senior government officials.