The resignation of embattled Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda is very sad. It has come at a very wrong time.
We would have expected him to join his two colleagues in the Judicial Review currently before the Ndola High Court, which review should give the people of Zambia an insight into the working of the executive in their fight against the Judiciary.
There is no question that the executive is determined to manipulate and eventually dominate the Judiciary to the detriment of the constitution which guarantees the separation of powers.
If we had our way we would have asked Judge Musonda to withdraw the resignation because this is not the time to give in to blackmail and intimidation.
The tragedy is that the Honourable Judge has once again placed himself at the mercy and caprice of the very same people that have created the invidious position in which the three Judges find themselves into and from which he is seeking an escape and relief.
Judging from previous experience he will find neither.
Judge Musonda would have done well to study the experience of former Presidents Chiluba, Mwanawasa and now Banda for him to understand the warped mentality and psyche of the people he is dealing with. These are not normal people they will do anything including bending the law, intimidating and even compromising the judiciary to prove their point.
President Sata may be in their good books today because he is in power and has put state instruments at their disposal. Time will come when he will not be in power, then he too will see the wisdom of our counsel.
These are socio paths with no feelings, morality nor indeed conscience.
We hope the two remaining judges Justices Kajimanga and Mutuna will not succumb, because their principled campaign has universal support because it brings to fore the issue of constitutionality and separation of powers.
Zambians must be told why three individuals who owe K18billion obtained from a public body, the Development Bank of Zambia by fraudulent misrepresentation- a criminal act, should cause a Tribunal to be constituted outside the provisions of the constitution.
The suggestion that the Tribunal is investigative is totally untenable. How can a Tribunal instituted by the Executive- the President, be an investigative body?
The Judicial Complaints Authority is the investigative body for the Judiciary. It is this body that should cause the President to institute a Tribunal. This is the law, as clearly established by the dissenting Supreme Court judges.
There must be a very good reason why Judge Lovemore Chikopa of Malawi, of all Judges within Zambia and beyond should preside over this particular tribunal. The executive must have a very good reason, for the choice of this particular man which hopefully we shall learn of in the near future.
As of now the sums and facts on the ground do not add up.
The Executive which has nothing to do with the Judiciary has already reached into and suspended members of the Judiciary from information provided by un-named “impeccable” sources.
We all know who the the “impeccable sources”, we saw their correspondence with the Minister of Justice and we know the issues that were raised. There is no reason for them to hide.
We doubt the Tribunal would have been constituted if the “impeccable” sources were not friends of the executive. Subjecting judges to a body constituted by the executive at first instance is not fair, moral nor indeed constitutional.
The constitution is very clear, every individual is protected by law and Judge Musonda should have stuck in there to fight for justice.