The Supreme Court has surrendered the constitutional power of the judiciary to the political leadership by the judgment it passed last week which allows the President to reach in the judiciary to discipline individual judges, says Alliance for Democracy and Development president Charles Milupi.
Mr. Milupi said that it was incredulous that Zambia still had people in the judiciary who wanted to weaken the institution by surrendering their constitutional power to the appointing authority.
He said that it was sad that when people where busy defending the judiciary night and day from total political abuse by those in leadership, some women and men on the bench incredulously surrendered their constitutional powers to politicians for favours.
Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling last week, where in one breath the court said that President Michael Sata was within his constitutional powers to constitute the tribunal and on the other hand advised him not to go ahead with the tribunal because of the constitutional issues surrounding the matter, Mr. Milupi said that the bench behaved childishly.
“I firstly want to thank those three judges who stood to defend the judiciary by stating what was correct and if you look at that ruling it was a split ruling meaning that Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda made the final vote. In my own understanding the four that voted in fovour of the state some of them are retired and on contract while some are about to retire, so it tells me the kind of ruling they made and why they ruled in that style. It was for a specific purpose and that purpose has weakened the judiciary as they have surrendered their constitutional powers to interpret the law to politicians and those close to the powers,” said Mr. Milupi.
Mr. Milupi said that the action by the Supreme Court was unconstitutional because it was weakening the constitution which was founded on the separation of powers.
He said that it was clear that people who complained against the three judges did not follow procedure as they complained directly to the President, adding that the President also was at fault not to refer the matter to the relevant institution.
“If we (people) who are not lawyers are able to see this whole thing that it was not correctly done what about those in the judiciary? It is shocking that the Supreme Court has failed to defend themselves when the people of Zambia defended the judiciary from political maneuvers and what has happened is that the President has been given powers to do anything that he so wishes with the judiciary going by that judgment.
It was just a few months ago when we went round meeting international bodies, embassies accredited to Zambia explaining how the PF government and the arm of the executive was interfering in the judiciary, but it is heart breaking that the very people we were defending in order to protect the institution have easily and willingly auctioned the judiciary in that manner, they have weakened the institution,” said Mr. Milupi.
Mr. Milupi has since challenged the Supreme Court bench that sat over the matter to seriously reflect on their action and the damage they have caused to the judiciary, adding that no judge would be free to handle politically motivated cases especially those involving people close to the President because of fear of victimization.