ACTING Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda must resign for betraying public interest by failing to constitute a tribunal against Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo on allegations of corruption, says chairperson for Tourism in the UPND Ephraim Belemu.
And political activist Dante Saunders has questioned the delays on the proposed tribunal to investigate tourism minister Sylvia Masebo saying this will bring into doubt integrity the office of the Chief Justice.
Mr. Belemu said that it was sad that Acting Chief Justice Chibesakunda misdirected herself by demanding evidence before the tribunal was finally constituted to investigate allegations of corruption against Ms. Masebo.
Mr. Belemu who is also opposition UPND Mbabala Member of Parliament told the Daily Nation in an interview that it was shocking that Acting Chief Justice Chibesakunda had taken a biased position on the matter when she really knew the procedure on the constitution of a tribunal.
“She has misdirected herself on the matter concerning the request to inform President Sata to constitute a tribunal against Masebo who is accused of corruption in the manner she canceled the ZAWA tenders. We are told that she is now demanding or requesting for evidence from Hon. William Harrington. That is not the procedure. The procedure is that the evidence is only adduced at the tribunal not the way she wants to do things,” he said.
Mr. Belemu noted with sadness that Acting Chief Justice was acting like a PF cadre in the manner she was handling the judiciary.
Mr. Belemu said that Justice Chibesakunda had betrayed justice in preference to supporting political agendas which have no bearing on the nation.
“These are matters of public interest over which Madam Chibesakunda is supposed to ensure that justice is seen to be disbursed. It is only fair that Masebo explains herself against this abuse of office and corruption allegations. I am saddened that she seems to be defending her by not following procedure. Can she take a leaf from the Dora Siliya Tribunal? She cannot tell us that Harrington did not follow procedure or did not know what he was doing when he is the same one who successfully lobbied for Dora Siliya tribunal. The best she can do now for the country and herself is to step down,” he said.
And Mr Saunders however noted that the decision by Mr Harrington to call for a tribunal would end up as a mere exercise in futility because the PF would not live to honour it as they had already interfered in the operations of the institutions that Zambians had once trusted.
He said the concerned institutions had been hijacked by current executive and it is therefore most likely that the people entrusted to work on issues such as the tribunal were pleasing their masters and forgetting their role.
“We are very concerned with institutions such as the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), the Anti Corruption Commission and the courts that if these institutions are not doing what they are mandated to do where will people run to.
“A precedence should be drawn from the Dora Siliya tribunal which was conducted without delay because the then government wanted to move on with developmental issues rather than giving office holders instructions.
“The whole exercise has proved beyond doubt that the constitution would be not honoured and why should the appointing authority interfere in the operations of these institutions? Because the PF has taken total control of these institutions. They feel they are above the law.”