Miyanda demands the revocation appointment of Acting Chief Justice


The continued acting of Madam Justice Chibesakunda as Chief Justice lacks integrity and obviously there is bad faith on the part of the President, aided by the PF Minister of Justice. But while we blame the President for the omission, Zambians may begin to ask whether the Honourable Acting Chief Justice is not a willing accomplice!

Events immediately preceding the postponement of nominations for the three constituencies involving Honourable Mwale, Siliya and Sililo point to questionable conduct by the Minister of Justice Hon Wynter Kabimba, which require a truthful answer or answers by the Minister.

Barely hours after he threatened to “engage the court” the Judiciary Public Relations Officer made that infamous statement that has been disowned by the Attorney General. This was immediately followed by the Acting Registrar’s statement, also disowned.

As indicated in a previous statement, Minister Kabimba should be cross examined on oath to establish what process he initiated and whom he had audience with at the “court”. And what about the Solicitor General’s Opinion rendered to the PF Secretary General? Unless and until he does so, speculations will continue that it was the Acting Chief Justice he consulted.

The statement a few days ago that Madam Chibesakunda herself attended to and allowed the application by the Attorney General has not been repudiated; if it is true it is worrisome for one would ordinarily NOT expect the Chief Justice to hear a single judge application when there are other junior Supreme court judges.

In this instance the process requires fairness and transparency. The axiom that “justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done” is very much at play here. Currently there is a pending contempt case involving MMD President Dr Nevers Mumba in which he was accused of making certain statements against Madam Chibesakunda. Although she is not on the panel hearing the case, the waters are still muddy. Further two of the three successful petitioners at High Court level are MMD MPs who also were successful in their Judicial Review application.

Then there is the questionable conduct of the Minister of Justice, who has yet to tell the truth about whom he spoke with immediately before the lightning speed ruling emanating from the “court”. And now Madam Chibesakunda has herself granted the appeal and stopped the nominations of Siliya et al. Who or what is driving this hitherto unseen enthusiasm in a case?

Surely the public require answers even before the hearing of the case because these are NOT empty speculations. The circumstances are at par with the Nixon tapes; there is a smoking gun and someone is really worried that the gun may be found. This Chief Justice saga will go down in Zambian judicial history as the scandal of the year!

It is not funny to question the highest court in the land; we must put an end to these unpleasant developments which continue further to erode public confidence in the judiciary. Rights of citizens must not only be protected and defended but must be assured by an independent, impartial and untainted judiciary and court system.

The conduct of the Minister of Justice does not bring forth such confidence. Minister Kabimba has failed to justify the continued acting appointment of Madam Chibesakunda or make a convincing case of the apparent abolishment of the office of substantive Deputy Chief Justice, when there is a substantive holder of the position in the name of Madam Justice Irene Mambilima (of this later).

Since the Acting Chief Justice will not step down on her own, the only honourable step for her to take is to recuse herself from the case involving the three Honourable MPs namely Mwale, Siliya and Sililo.

We demand and continue to call upon the President to correct this self-created judicial scandal of the year forthwith by submitting another name to the National Assembly.