The appointment of Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda by President Michael Sata was against the constitution of Zambia, says International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) president Bishop Simon Chihana.
In a letter addressed to President Sata, Bishop Chihana said that the appointment was illegal by virtue of the age and other constitutional issues.
“Sir, the clear knowledge and understanding that your office intends to officially nominate and have parliament ratify the appointment of the acting Chief Justice, her lady, Madam Chibesakunda may seem right by virtue of her long tested practice and work in the judiciary but legally out of bounds by virtue of the age she has reached as required by the law which both you Head of State and her lady, Madame Chibesakunda are called to defend and uphold in the interest and wellbeing of our nation and its posterity,” he said.
Bishop Chihana said that even though President Sata’s decision may not be challenged it was in the best interest of the nation that the law over such appointment was followed.
“I personally have much respect for the Madame Chibesakunda and beyond that, she is also a close relative to some of my close friends in the church work and outside but I have however decided to say something on the same in the interest of the nation and to possibly try the concerns being faced by us all in the intended appointment,” he said.
He said, “Sir, your intentions and motive may not be challenged or disputed considering that Madame Chibesakunda is an honorable woman and indeed in her own class and status but that does not give a go ahead for you to appoint her and seek ratification from Parliament for it is totally against the Zambian constitution,” he said.
Bishop Chihana said that President Sata needed the guidance of the constitution to help him to avoid unconstitutionality.
” Mr. President, you need to be guided by that book called the constitution of the Republic of Zambia and not just your desire and intentions. If I may give you my own Bemba proverb, “Ala impoto ya bwali tabaisha ne fiko”. You need the constitution to defend and protect you in your decisions as you are in the office and after your office time,” he said.
He said that if President Sata needed Judge Chibesakunda in that position he must take the matter to parliament to amend the law that forbids one to be appointed and serve as Chief Justice if they were beyond a certain age.