Disband Chikopa if locals can

President Michael Sata’s appointment of Zambian judges to head tribunals to investigate their colleagues should compel him to disband the Chikopa tribunal as he now seems to have confidence in the Zambian judicial officers’ ability to check each other through the Judicial Complaints Authority JCA).

Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali said it was unacceptable that the Malawian High Court Judge Lovemore Chikopa should continue staying in the country at a high cost when there were capable justices to head tribunals as proved by the appointment of justices Mathew Ngulube and Bobby Bwalya.

He also urged government to follow laid down procedures in initiating and dealing with complaints against the judiciary.

“We are in support of the government’s efforts in trying to clean up the Judiciary, to rid of incompetent and corrupt judges but it is inconceivable that we continue to keep Chikopa at such a high price when we have a viable judicial system from within,” he said.

He charged that President Sata should disband the Chikopa tribunal if indeed he had confidence as he claimed during yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony.

Tayali explained that keeping Chikopa in Zambia was an expense on the poor Zambians and that it eroded the confidence in the local judicial system.

“If indeed the whole world has so much confidence on our Zambian Judiciary, they why did we even pick on the Malawian judge?  It really boggles us!” he said.

Yesterday, President Sata swore in two tribunals to investigate alleged professional misconduct of suspended Ndola High Court Judges Emelia Sunkutu and Timothy Katanekwa.

The President has appointed Justice Matthew Ngulube as head of the tribunal to probe Judge Sunkutu, and Justice Fredrick Chomba to chair the tribunal to probe Judge Katanekwa.

Other members of the tribunals include Justice Bobby Bwalya, Justice Sylvester Simachela, and Judge Chilombo Maka-Phiri, among others.

But the Judiciary says it does not know that two of its members of staff, Judge Sunkutu and Judge Katanekwa have been suspended.

In an interview, High Court chief administrator Egipiso Mwansa expressed ignorance on the reported suspension of the two judges as his office was had not received any communication to that effect.

“We are just seeing events develop through the media just as you are, otherwise we have no communication of any suspension in the Judiciary,” he said.

Likewise, Judiciary Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) president Peter Mwale said there was no communication of the reported judges’ suspension received

Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony at State House today, President Sata urged the members of the tribunal to discharge their mandate diligently as Zambians deserved to know the truth as it was incumbent upon the tribunal to work towards establishing the truth.

He noted that the Judiciary in Zambia was at the centre of people’s attention because of the conduct of some judges and expressed confidence on the composition of the tribunals to discharge their mandate efficiently especially that they were all experienced in judicial matters.