Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Citizens Urge Court To Nullify Appointment of Judges

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Citizens who challenged the appointment of 20 judges of the superior courts by the President have urged the Constitutional Court to nullify the appointments for having been done in contravention of constitutional values and principles.

In a reply to the Answer by the Attorney-General filed on Friday, Governance Activist Isaac Mwanza and Maurice Makalu submitted that public interest demands that the Constitution and the law must be respected and upheld.

Mr Mwanza maintained that the Judicial Service Commission contravened the Constitution in the selection process of judges when it failed to respect constitutional values and principles outlined in Article 173 which require a transparent and competitive process which provide equal opportunities to suitably qualified persons.

“Whereas there was need to recruit more judges into the superior courts in order to enhance access to justice and the administration of justice, suffice to reiterate that the recruitment process had to itself comply and be within the Constitution and the law otherwise it all amounted to a nullity.”

Mr Mwanza reminded the court that it has judicial authority and has previously used such authority to nullify decisions by the President which came into conflict with the Constitution.

He pointed the Court to its decision in 2016 which nullified the decision by the former President to keep Ministers in office after dissolution of Parliament and ordered the Ministers to pay back the money they had earned.

“If the Judicial Service Commission was in violation of the Constitution in its process of selecting judges, so was the President in making appointments and the National Assembly in confirming the appointment made by the President,” said the Petitioners.

The Petitioners submitted that Article 140 as read together with Article 95 of the Constitution provides a the process of appointing Judges in Zambia in three-phased approach.

They stated that the appointment process starts with selection and recommending persons by the Commission, followed by appointment of judges by the President, and culminates with confirmation of presidential appointment by the National Assembly.

The petitioners also differentiated the appointment process in Zambia from that of the United States of America where the process starts with the President and ends with the U.S legislature.

The petitioners said the Zambian process is similar to Kenyan and South African processes which uses a three-tier system and require respect for constitutional values and principles.

Mr Mwanza has since told the Constitutional Court that courts in Kenya have shown extraordinary courage and independence by nullifying appointments made by the President which contravene the Kenyan Constitution, even after appointees have been sworn into office.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I like the reasoning in the argument. But we know Zambian judges, they have no strength to make judgment that frees the court from executive capture.

    • It’s a brought-in-dead petition. When did this constitution take effect? How many judges have been appointed under it? Why should only those appointed by HH be a matter of concern to Mwanza and his co-petitioner?

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    • #Gunner in Zambia just noticed these guys are right. Appointment comes before ratification. Read entire Article 95 of our Constitution. but true to what Sangwa said, corrupt and incompetent court is more dangerous

    • They were all nominated and ratified by Parliament. HH then formally appointed them. That has been the procedure since Kenneth Kaunda’s time. Judges who were sitting on the Constitutional Court before HH became President of Zambia were appointed in the same fashion. If this petition has merit, it should apply to every judge including those Edgar Lungu appointed.

  2. Judges protect fellow judges. If it was action against another institution, they would ve done right thing. Zambia kwwf

  3. Sandra just called the Judiciary corrrupt and corrupt in the Mast and you guys think you can get justice against judges from there? Are you dreaming?

  4. Lungu was a democrat and reason he allowed them to against him on former Ministers. This new guy has made sure the courts are dancing to his tune. Made sure from magistrates to top, he has put his own people to decide cases. You dumb if you think u can win

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  5. I see a time when everyone begins to shun the Constitutional Court. Sangwa is right, and its more corrupt than anyone Instititions. Those judges have allowed to be used by the Executive in exchange for money.

  6. Citizens or a well known PF cadres like Isaac Mwanza.
    These immoral people were hoping that a Zambian judiciary dominated by ECL appointed PF cadre judges will be handing judgements favorable to them.
    THAT WONT HAPPEN

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  7. The constitutional court judges you are presenting your case too were also appointed in a similar manner. So, if they rule otherwise, it means that even their appointments are also null and void

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    • Thought all Easterners are intelligent lol. The law is never applied in retrospect. So whatever decision the court makes will not affect those already appointed.

  8. Whether the appointments are annulled or not, at least someone saw the misdemeanor and questioned the actions of the Executive.

  9. Lets support Isaac Mwanza and Maurice Makalu…the problem we have in Zambia is will have too many cowards who tolerate too much

  10. This is real test of judicial independence & integrity. Am liking how solid you guys are. Keep doing what lawyers have failed to do.

  11. Lungu was a dictator but at least, from what happened in former Ministers case, it showed he never interfered with judiciary. But this administration is getting worse, I doubt these judges will have courage to make a firm decision for the future

  12. Lungu was a dictator but at least, from what happened in former Ministers case, it showed he never interfered with judiciary. But HH administration is getting worse, I doubt these judges will have courage to make a firm decision for the future.

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