THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has accused the Patriotic Front (PF) and President Edgar Lungu of controlling the judiciary by speaking against the decisions of some of the judges in the nullification of some parliamentary seats.
UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka claimed that there had been an invisible hand that had been controlling the judiciary and that was why Zambians were wondering how some of the Constitutional Court judges had allegedly taken a clear partisan stance in their decisions.
State House said on Sunday that there was a lot of discomfort in the PF with the manner some judges had handled the election petitions, particularly that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was on record as having declared that if he was not going to win the general elections, he was going to get his victory through the courts.
Commenting on special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda’s statement that there was discontent in the PF in the manner some judges handled the election petitions, Mr Katuka said it had become clear that the governing party was intimidating the judiciary.
“It is not long ago that many Zambians wondered on the behaviour of some members of the Constitutional Court, who were clearly very partisan in the manner they handled the presidential petition. A number of learned scholars and professional institutions clearly pointed out that there was an invisible hand controlling the judiciary, which ideally, should be very independent as an arm of Government.
In his statement, Mr Chanda had said courts should at all costs avoid the temptation of acting in a manner that would make them appear to be participating in politics.
Mr Chanda said the PF members were not zombies and often went to court to listen to the cases but were often shocked that preference for space in courts was being given to members of the opposition UPND.
And Mr Chanda has announced that President Lungu has reduced his presidential delegation on foreign trips from the traditional 80 people to no more than 21 in his continued efforts to effect austerity measures.
Last month, President Lungu cut his salary by 50 percent, apart from channeling 10 percent to the empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Chanda revealed that the Head of State had decided to cut his delegation on foreign trips as a measure to cut expenditure.
Mr Chanda said President Lungu is one of the few African heads of state who was making foreign trips with a lean delegation because of the realization that the country was going through economic challenges.
Speaking on the ZNBC Sunday Interview programme, Mr Chanda said President Lungu would now be traveling with a maximum of 21 Government officials as opposed to the usual 80 in line with the economic recovery theme of the national Budget.
Meanwhile, Mr Katuka has claimed that Zambians had completely lost confidence in many institutions of governance such as the police, the judiciary, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and others because, according to him, President Lungu had been threatening the judiciary through Mr Chanda.