judges ratification raises controversy

Controversy has erupted over the impending ratification by Parliament, of two Supreme Court judges Evans Hamaundu and Albert Wood scheduled for tomorrow.

Last week Vice President Guy Scott announced that Parliament would this coming Wednesday consider the ratification of the two Judges.

Meanwhile opposition parties are investigating how  the names went approved by the select committee when there was a clear agreement that it would be inappropriate to do so at this stage.

But Civil Rights Advocacy (ZCRA) leader Sidney Mwelwa said both judges had pending matters whose outcome would affected their positions on the Supreme Court.

The ratification process, he said, should have waited for the outcome of the Chikopa Tribunal of which Judge Albert Wood was the main player and the outcome of the Wynter Kabimba Tribunal of which Judge Hamaundu was the Chairman.

Both Tribunals, he said, were mired in serious controversy and that  it  was incomprehensible, he said, that  Parliament would be ratifying acting  Supreme Court Judge  Albert Wood who was at the centre of the Chikopa Tribunal on matters that concerned his professional conduct.

He explained that revealing information to outside in the manner that Judge Wood did to Zambian Airways Directors Fred M’membe owner of the Post Newspaper and Mutembo Nchito the Director of Public Prosecution was against the judicial code of conduct and carried with it sanctions.

There was a temptation, he said, that members of the public would interpret the appointments as being partisan,  because of the circumstances involving the outcome of the Wynter Kabimba Tribunal whose result was as yet to be announced  but with speculation being rife that the PF Secretary General had been cleared of wrong doing.The Supreme Court, he said, was too important an institution to be shrouded in doubt and controversy emanating from such cases as the Zambian Airways/Development Bank of Zambia scandal, which matter he said would end up in the Supreme Court at some stage in the future.