The decision by the Lusaka High Court ordering Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to constitute a Tribunal to investigate corruption charges against Minister of Tourism Sylvia Masebo is a milestone in the fight against corruption.
First of all it restores some confidence in the Judiciary. Judge Dominic Sichinga has walked the principle and whatever the outcome of the resultant Tribunal he has stood for justice, and has refused to sweep corruption under the rug of political intimidation.
This is what Zambians expect of the Judiciary.
It is absolutely critical that our judges do justice in a manner that assures the public of their integrity. Without public confidence the judiciary will cease to be an impartial arbiter. It has been said that Justice must be rooted in confidence and that confidence is destroyed when right thinking members of the society doubt the neutrality of the judges. The Judiciary must be above board if it is to play the pivotal role of promoting the rule of law.
It shows that spirited citizens can tackle the powers and principalities that be to seek justice equity and fair play, and more importantly restores confidence in the Judiciary.
If it was not for the spirited effort of one William Harrington, former Minister of Transport, this matter would have died a natural death. People who were victimized would have suffered in their silence because they had no means of questing decisions that were obviously irregular.
What is worrying is that the order had to be made against the highest officer in the Judiciary, which is presently embattled. This points to very worrying conclusion about the nature of our judiciary- the intellectual and moral pillar of our democracy.
It is worrying that in this day and age, there should be a few sacred cows who enjoy such political favour as to render the judiciary powerless and impotent.
There are many such irregular decisions that must now be challenged by citizens because the established institutions such as the Anti Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission and indeed the Police are unable to investigate because of the political profile of those involved.
We have in mind such very clear cases as the Trafigura oil deal where the Zambian people were made to pay US$2 for oil that should have cost a little over US$1.5 at the highest.
There has been no proper explanation for this irregularity and the relevant agencies have failed to investigate and tell the nation why poor Zambians should be so openly exploited. This is truly unforgivable and an unconscionable act of cruelty to the poorest of the poor.
Those who benefitted from this deal must know that it is a matter of time before they are brought to book. They can destroy the books and shred evidence to cover their tracks, but this will not succeed, the truth will come out.
We hope this matter can now be concluded so that all those involved will have closure from an otherwise very frustrating experience.