Dead LAZ

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:50:37 +0000

The silence of the Law Association of Zambia over the sustained attacks against the Judiciary by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and Fred M’membe confirms the suspicion that the association’s executive is selective.

A clear impression has been created that the association can only respond to criticize Government and its officers who are seen to interfere with the Judiciary.

There appears to be an inherent fear which paralyses the entire association from criticizing and acting against members of the cartel and those from the opposition.

The entire association seems totally intimidated and rendered impotent when confronted with a very clear case of misconduct by some of its own members who take it upon themselves to criticize the Judiciary through public media that they own.

The most recent case being the attack against Justice Sunday Nkonde who is presiding over the dissolution of the Post newspaper and the long running Development Bank of Zambia fraud case.

A few years ago three judges lost their jobs on account of their alleged misconduct in relation to the Development Bank of Zambia case.  Supreme Court Justice Phillip Musonda, Judge Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna were virtually hounded from the bench because they seemed to have a hand in processing the DbZ case.

This matter saw the appointment of Malawian Judge  Lovemore Chikopa who fortunately was not able to proceed because the matter fell apart with the effluxion of time, but not before Judge Musonda had resigned.

It will also be recalled that an eminent legal mind, former Chief Justice Matthew Wataba Ngulube was forced out of office by the cartel because he refused to play politics as dictated by the then blue-eyed boys of President Levy Mwanawasa.

The Judiciary has never quite recovered from the blemish of this cartel and sadly stories abound that a number of judges on the bench today were sponsored via the cartel and are therefore ready and willing to serve their interests.

Through the turbulence that started from the Mwanawasa era, the association has been virtually moribund on professional issues save for occasional bursts when it suited the interest of the cartel.  This does not bode well for an association that should be professional and expected to render competent legal counsel to the nation at large.

This is not possible if it has sacred cows that are untouchable and seemingly capable of intimidating the entire bench.

We entirely agree with ZRP president for LAZ to rise to its former glory when it was able to offer impartial, professional and well-grounded advice.

For as long as LAZ is associated with negative forces, it will remain irrelevant and fail to serve its role as the impartial arbiter.

Little wonder that late President Michael Sata was so frustrated with LAZ that he personally called the association to register his concern, unfortunately for a wrong cause, but this was the extent of frustration that Zambians find themselves in, that this important association cannot even offer advice over the 2021 election debate over the eligibility of the President.

Many people, however, expect that the silence simply represents the negative opinion of the association.


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