Chibesakunda new contract riles judges

President Michael Sata has reappointed Justice Lombe Chibeskunda as acting Chief Justice, a decision which has riled some Supreme Court Judges.

The two year contract of Justice Chibesakunda came to an end last month but some judges have confirmed that President Sata has for the second time renewed her contract as Supreme Court judge and further asked her to continue acting as chief justice.

The judges said it was not clear why the Head of State had earlier talked about judicial reforms when he had insisted on maintaining a retired judge as acting chief justice in office.

The judges described President Sata’s decision to renew Justice Chibesakunda’s contract twice as a scandal because judges were not supposed to serve indefinitely on contract.

The judges who spoke on condition of anonymity said there can never be constructive judicial reforms in the nation when the President had insisted on ignoring the law and the aspirations of the judiciary.

“What is the President’s agenda to continue having madam Chibesakunda as acting chief justice? The lady has done her part and as judges we feel it is time she thought about her credibility and make a decision.

“We know the Head of State has insisted on having her in that position hence the decision to renew her contract. First of all justice Chibesakunda as we all know is retired and is currently serving on contract but the question we are asking is why is she also promoting this illegality? We feel the President is not helping the judiciary by thinking that only justice Chibesakunda was in the position to liberate the judiciary,” one judge complained.

The judges wondered why both the positions of the chief and deputy justices had not been filled up to now and challenged the Head of State to tell the nation if the judiciary was short of judges that could fill the two positions substantively.

They said the status quo had compromised the independence of the institution and have since appealed to President Sata to reconsider his position on the office of the chief justice.

Meanwhile, political activist Dante Saunders said it was unfortunate that the Mr State had insisted on having a retired judge as acting chief justice.

Mr Saunders however said it was a pity that the PF was a government that could not negotiate on its decision as it had a different agenda from what it had promised the people of Zambia.

“It is clear to every Zambian that President Sata will insist on keeping his relatives in office. The other thing we have noticed is the promotion of outright corruption and disregarding the rule of law as well as applying brutal force on the Zambian people.

“They want to ensure that Zambians do not have a new constitution by keeping Justice Chibesakunda in that office and because of all this Zambia had become a small island as it had no friends both locally and internationally. All this stubbornness is destroying political and social life for this country because the international community is slowing turning its back on Zambia,” he said.

Mr Saunders said Zambians were not weak but meek and shall soon overcome this abuse of authority.

He said Zambians shall neither be stopped by the use of pangs nor bullets because they were out there to ensure that the ruling PF did not get back to power.

Mr Saunders warned that President Sata would be held responsible for all the abuse he was tolerating during his reign.

“People cannot wait to see the end of this team but must never forget one thing that the buck stops on President Sata,” he said.