Saturday, July 20, 2024

John Sangwa writes to HH asking him to advertise position of Chief Justice, attacks Zambian judiciary

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Respected Constituonal Lawyer John Sangwa has written to President Hakainde Hichilema advising the Head of State to appoint the new Chief Justice through a transparent process.

And Mr Sangwa has sharply attacked the Zambian Judiciary saying some Judges had become openly partisan during the 10 years of the PF

In a letter dated 1st October 2021, Mr Sangwa is advising President Hichilema to for the first time in the history of Zambia, advertise the position of Chief Justice.

“I implore you Mr President to allow the position of the Chief Justice to be publicly advertised, followed by a transparent and rigorous process to find the most qualified, competent, and experienced person to head the Judiciary,” he wrote.

“The woman or man who will emerge from this process as Chief Justice should be someone with an active conscience, a keen mind committed to fairness and reform of the Judiciary, and a person of unquestionable integrity. She or he should be someone who has never abused public trust and with a demonstrable devotion to scholarship and a willingness to learn, to understand better, to judge better.”

Mr Sangwa suggested that the Judicial Service Commission must invite interested people to apply for the vacant position and publicly interview them.

“The people, whose power the Chief Justice will exercise and in whose name she or he will sit to dispense justice, must have a say in the choice of their Chief Justice.”

Mr Sangwa said in the future, and subject to the overhaul of the Constitution, all appointments of Judges of the Superior Courts must follow the same rigorous, open, and competitive process.

He said subjecting the candidates to an open, competitive, and fair process will give all Zambians equal opportunity to apply for the highest job in the Judiciary.

“Given the experience of the last ten years, such a process is crucial in restoring public confidence in the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.

Mr Sangwa said previously, the process of appointing Judges was a sham and did not have any semblance of transparency or fairness.

He said the process eroded the independence and integrity of the Judiciary and institutionalised political nepotism in the Judicature.

“During the reign of your predecessor, some competent Zambians were denied appointment as Judges of the Superior Courts because they were considered not “user-friendly. The consequence has been the emergence of a Judiciary that does not command the respect of the people it is supposed to serve.”

He charged that going to court is like going to a Casino

“Today, going to Court is like going to a Casino in that there is no consistency in decision-making. The outcome, in most case, is a matter of chance. The decisions are rarely informed by the law and facts governing the case but by other variables, such as the intellectual capacity, temperament and experience of the Judge, parties to the proceedings and whether the Judge is receptive to bribes,” he wrote.

“The independence of the judiciary became a fiction. The Judiciary was reduced from a branch of government co-equal with the Executive and Legislature to a department within the Executive branch of government. It failed to check on the lawlessness of your predecessor and in certain instances the Judges legalised it.”

He added, “Some Judges became openly partisan and fiercely defended the personal interests of your predecessor in appreciation for the appointment or promotion within the judicial hierarchy.”

“Until 12 August 2021, some Judges did not know and those that knew forgot or ignored that the sovereign authority did not belong to the President but to the people.”

“Mr President, whilst you are obliged by the Constitution, where necessary, to ensure regional diversity in appointments to public offices, the concept should not be employed to justify the appointment of an unfit person to the office of Chief Justice. The reasoning is very simple, your mandate is subject to renewal by the people every five years through a general election. Most of the people appointed to these public offices are your delegates. They will serve at your pleasure and your successor can reverse your appointments. However, a Judge’s tenure is protected. Except for fault, a Judge will hold office until the age of seventy or retire early at sixty-five. An unfit person appointed to the office of Chief Justice of will undermine the Judiciary and rob the taxpayers until retirement.”

He says, “The choice of the next Chief Justice must, therefore, not be informed by partisan, ethnic, regional or even personal considerations but by the ideal that merit, hard work, a clean track record and honesty will be recognised and rewarded. This is what will set you apart from your predecessors and Zambia from other emerging democracies.”

34 COMMENTS

  1. If only there was a way of firing all but one or two of the current Justices. Most of them where on the take and are an embarrassment to this respected profession. Dirty as the gone PF criminal enterprise. I concur with open transparent appointment process. We should never ever allow ourselves to have a rotten to the core justice ever again

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  2. Chief Justice late Mambilima Ireen who has been recognized by Hachilema was a woman of unshakable integrity who ran the Judiciary with stupendous professionalism and unmatched legal prowess that you Sangwa envied.
    Appointed then ratified by parliament so it shall be whether by application or information. Presidents are advised.
    John, I have no doubt that you have read the constitution well so if you want to be the CJ just looby and participate.
    You may be good at writing SC but I am sure that you also are not trynna make us believe that you’re the greatest legal minds. I hope you are not patronizing Hachilema.

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  3. Kano nganibo ba Sangwa.
    We ndoshi niwe. Kulibonesha musankwa.
    State Counsel just come out. Do you want the job or you are state Counseling.
    Get appointed and we will yell that you got it because you’re definitely a yupeendi surrogate.

    Ici naco nalanda cine naco.
    Very true.

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  4. To sum it up everyone else is looking for a job, learned constitutional lawyer or not. State Counsel or not.
    Iwe h² give a job uyu so he improves his CV.

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  5. John Sangwa seriously looking for a job….and he is forgetting that he is also Partisan….and where is KBF

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  6. This JS is in a hurry to revenge. He is itching to take revenge on his enemies. Just move on otherwise you risk becoming the same people you are criticising.

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  7. How does HH depart from the current practice if the law is not changed? And why has John Sangwa made the letter public before getting a reply from HH?

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  8. The Judiciary in Zambia is rotten to the bone.We have well known PF cadres on the Supreme Court bench.
    The ConCourt and Appeals Court are just wings of the PF party.

    In fact the final courts in Zambia are bloated and inefficient.
    We have 11 Supreme court judges + 9 ConCourt judges = 20 final court judges .
    In countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, USA etc you only have 7 or 9 judges doing the same work.
    Edgar Lungu was just employing his associates in order to get favorable court decisions.

    THE JUDICIARY NEEDS A COMPLETE OVERHAUL VIA A NATIONAL REFERENDUM.

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  9. Open Letters.

    As per my wont, I love and loathe them at the same time.

    They can represent unsolicited advice (as in this case) or non-physical (intellectual – though the unforgiving would say cowardly) protest or praise that is playing to the gallery (as in this case).

    In this particular instance, for someone who holds such loft positions, one of which a sitting president might influence (was the venerable Sangwa appointed to the Judicial Commission before or after HH?) , I find this Open Letter deplorable. With the position(s) Sangwa holds, surely he has the ear of the president? No? Through which he can offer his advice and let the president take the lead in announcing how the next Chief Justice will be appointed? Anyone that has read even half of the 48 Laws of Power would…

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  10. @Newmine, my point exactly. Given his loft position(s) he should have addressed this matter privately with HH, with simene who is willing to listen or perhpas Sangwa has already labelled HH in the same moud as ECL?

  11. There is a young Mayor in Windhoek, Namibia. He has opted to have his top positions open to the public in terms of screening, shortlisting and employing. I see nothing wrong with this trend for as many public offices as we can get onto that slate. Whether or not Sangwa is interested is immaterial. Accountability must really involve the people you will serve. Remember the good old day when local councils actually FUNCTIONED? When bylaws were a THING!?? We want that back.

  12. “Mr Sangwa suggested that the Judicial Service Commission must invite interested people to apply for the vacant position and publicly interview them.”
    What does the law say on appointment of the Chief Justice ? Can the president advertise the position?

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  13. John Sangwa has a point . Kenya recently got a new Chief Justice after a transparent and public hearing process driven by their Judicial Service commission.Kenya’s president is not involved in the choice whatsoever.

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  14. Pharaoh’s Braggadocio – Just because someone has passed we should not start painting them as squeaky clean…Irene Mambilima may have been an excellent Chairwoman of ECZ but she was terrible in the CJ office. She ignored the injustices right under her nose she lamentably failed to reform the Judiciary. Mind you what was she even doing in Egypt on board the President Jet when she was going to the second in command during the election phase…there are so many unanswered questions.

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  15. I agree with SC John Sangwa but does out constitution allow that? We should take a leaf from the RSA constitution where High Judges are quizzed publicly before they are endorsed by Parliament.

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  16. John Sangwa is not fit for government. How does HH do wht he’s suggesting whn the law says something else? How does HH depart from that without inviting a challenge in those same courts to declare his action null and void? Sangwa may hv genuine concerns but the method he’s suggesting is a legal minefield for HH.

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  17. Sangwa was used and tossed away like a used condom. The f00I thought that hh would give him a job. Now look how f00Iish he looks. We warned you that hh was desperate for power and was using failures like you. Go back to your hole and stop making noise

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  18. I have still saved a beating for this sangwa boy. Remember I don’t forget. Sangwapo akapon0ka. Let me meet you in the streets. I will unleash some dirty slaps on you. If you want call the upnd cadres to support you. I will beat them up too. I didn’t get a black belt in karate for nothing.

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    • You are a savage. Unfit for our society so you should be locked up for threatening violence to a man whom you intellectually cant compete with. Its always the uncivilized who resort to animalistic behavior when they cant compete at the mental level. Sangwa doesn’t need to respond to your likes. He has the attention of the thinking nation. Those who bark are on the wrong forum here. This platform is for humans

  19. Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly 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 Honeybee) Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly 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 Honeybee)

    I do agree with the crux of what he is saying. It is no secret that most right thinking Zambians have lost confidence in the judiciary because they really served the interests of Lungu, rather than Zambians. Especially that Kangaroo Court called the ConCourt that was created by Lungu… they really didn’t hide the fact that they were there to serve Lungu… Lungu should not have qualified to stand as a candidate in the 2021 Presidential elections.
    Even if the CJ role is not advertised (I suspect the Constitution doesn’t allow an open recruitment process), at least the ratification process and sessions should be open to the public like they do in the USA. Publicly grill them on their integrity; their record and their skeletons.
    Whether Sangwa is publicly applying for the job (I don’t…

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  20. Thank you! You’ve just eloquently laid out one of the arguments for the prompt removal and replacement of our Constitution. There’s a lot more to be done, in order to transform the Zambian judiciary. The biggest problem is having a pool that’s full of completely rotten, poorly educated and trained lawyers. Everything will have to change, including the introduction of Revalidation and 360 degree appraisals. Zambian lawyers are a pestilence at all levels.

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  21. Look at me, I’m a Kaizar Zulu wannabe troll based in the UK. Obviously I’m an insecure, sick attention seeker and that is why I pretend to be someone else. Please understand my mental illness.

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  22. No I actually used call myself Mushota. But I was not getting much attention then and so I changed to Kaizar Zulu. I’m still the same person.

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  23. Mushota you come across as desperate. I am sure you are one of the many disgruntled upnd diasporans whose lives have not changed after calling for your fellow tribesman to be voted in. You are still toilet cleaners there abroad

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  24. Where is Magistrate David Simusamba…these chaps need to investigated thoroughly even his riches I can only imagine the people he has put away or let to walk.

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  25. First time I have heard of the job of CJ being advertised. I don’t know what the Constitution says about this so I support or criticize until I know exactly how the procedure is.

  26. Kaizer Zulu, you fool just stup up and don’t push us to revenge the pain and terror we endured from you pathetic thug. Judge Sitali through her corrupt ruling made big looter ECL president. So shut up your wealth can’t be explained it’s a matter of time before you join us in prision

  27. I vote John Sangwa to be chief justice or constitutional Court president. He is the type of person who can clean it up. We need a real chief justice to be firm enough and stand to uphold the constitution. When Lungu did not hand over power in 2016 to the speaker the chief justice should have come in but there was silence. We cannot have that happen again.

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  28. Wise commentator – SC Sangwa already stated that he doesn’t want any positions in this govt.. why is it that we always think everyone who talks or criticises is after a position in any govt?

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  29. Kaiza use capital lettesr when referring HH don’t use small ones. Athewise your own siber law will visit you. Bayafy tabasha balona. Ukanyela Miranda akalala. HH IS THE PRESIDENT.

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