Disparaging Court Judges

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:44:05 +0000


IT is regrettable that some opposition political leaders in partnership with disgruntled individuals have embarked on a crusade to propagate hatred against the judiciary.

The impetus to target and scandalise Judges that have or are presiding over certain court cases in which they have vested interest is not only uncivil but also unacceptable.

Disparaging the judicial system on the basis of a particular Judge not having adjudicated the court case in their favour is otiose and sets a dangerous precedence of subjecting judicial officers to unmerited political ridicule.

What is the motivation behind Judge Sunday Nkonde and Judge Mwinde Siavwapa’s attacks? Are the attacks meant to intimidate the Judges? Why is the prescribed constitutional procedure of lodging a complaint against a Judge not being followed?

Recently, the two High Court Judges: Judge Sunday Nkonde and High Court Judge Mwinde Siavwapa have been subjected to incessant attacks from some sections of the media and the opposition political parties.

And it is so obvious that the individuals castigating our Judges are driving a political agenda meant to discredit the judiciary and paint a gloomy picture to the outside world that there is a breakdown of the rule of law.

Our Judges, like any other public officers, are not infallible or immortal men and women, thereby prone to criticism whenever they conduct themselves in a manner that falls short of the anticipated decorum.

However, this is not what is at play in this highly politicised crusade campaign particular High Court Judges. The motivation for these attacks is purely an expression of anger at the judicial system because either the courts did not pass judgments in their favour or they are not comfortable with the Judge handling their cases.

It is absurd for some opposition political leaders to continue calling Judges all sorts of names and casting aspersions on the credibility of the judicial system on account of the court not t0 have ruled in their favour. Judges base their decisions on a set of facts presented before them and the relevant applicable law.

We think our Judges have so far executed their duties well. The judicious manner in which they handled the flurry of parliamentary petition following the August 11 general elections attests to this fact.

Abusing the judicial system in the name of democracy and freedom of expression is procedurally improper. If indeed an individual has a genuine complaint against a sitting Judge, it is prudent to follow the right procedure.

Constitutionally, complaints of alleged misconduct or incompetence against a serving Judge are supposed to be lodged with the Judicial Complaints Authority as opposed to attacking the judicial officers in the media. Why choose to attack the Judges in the media if the complainants have genuine complaints of misconduct against the Judges?

In this vein, we do not think dragging a Judge to court on the pretext that the Judicial Complaints Authority has delayed in handling the complaint lodged will yield desired results either. Is this intended to intimidate the Judge?

We are of the view that the culture of attacking our court Judges in the media is an affront on the Judiciary and should be discouraged. Why is the Judiciary and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) quiet when Judges are being attacked?


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