Corrupt judges and other judicial officers should be vetted to bring sanity in the judiciary, says political activist Dante Saunders.
He was reacting to recent revelation by acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda that there was corruption in the judiciary which was seriously impeding the proper functioning of the institution from achieving its mandate of dispensing justice in a fair and timely manner
Mr Saunders has called for the probe of the judges alleged to be corrupt to restore confidence in the operation of the judiciary.
He said an independent judiciary was fundamental to the rule of law, and that it needed to be enhanced by effective, transparent, and accountable systems.
“The rule of law no longer applies in Zambia because it appears as if people are now doing what they want to satisfy their political mileage, which is a hindrance to the country’s democratic process,” Mr Saunders said.
He said it would be prudent if the judges who were not performing according to the system are scrutinized so that the judiciary had eligible people who would run the affairs of the nation with dignity.
Mr Saunders said the Zambian judiciary would collapse if government failed to probe and fight the corrupt in the judicial system.
He said the corrupt activities in the judiciary were real and that some individuals were safe guarding their personal interests.
Mr Saunders said the country could not afford to have a Director of Public Prosecution who also had matters to answer.
He said this state of affairs would lead to citizens losing confidence in the judiciary.
Mr Saunders said Zambians needed a government that was willing to fight corruption in all the institutions.
“The country is losing colossal sums of money because of corrupt activities, and that is why we need a clean up in the judiciary considering how corruption have taken a centre stage in the life of Zambia today,” he said.
He said judicial independence should be associated with the ideas of democracy, and the rule of law, which were necessary for the realization of a just society.
“We need a government that will bring professional women and men that will work without political strings attached, if justice was to prevail in Zambia,” Mr Saunders said.
Recently, Justice Chibesakunda warned magistrates against corruption as the vice undermined public trust and the rule of law.
Ms Chibesakunda however called for increased levels of scrutiny and oversight so that erring officers were made more accountable for their actions.
She said this during the launch of the Local Court Service Charter in Lusaka.