Saturday, February 13, 2010

Govt shouldn’t dilly-dally on Chiluba’s judgment – LAZ

Govt shouldn’t dilly-dally on Chiluba’s judgment – LAZ
By Patson Chilemba and Moses Kuwema
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:01 CAT

LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu yesterday asked the government not to dilly-dally filing submissions on Frederick Chiluba’s London High Court judgment because the Supreme Court has set a good base for them to do so.

Commenting on the Supreme Court's decision to dismiss an appeal by former president Frederick Chiluba, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu on preliminary issues relating to the registration of the London High Court judgment on Thursday, Lungu said delaying the submission would defeat the whole purpose of the directive given by the Supreme Court to do so.

"They Supreme Court have set a very good base, and understand what I mean by a very good base. Very good base in dismantling the preliminary application that was before it in relation to the London judgment. It is now entirely upon the government to exercise its role effectively in ensuring that the directives given by the Supreme Court are followed," Lungu said. "In its judgment, the Supreme Court has said that the parties to this matter should file their submissions before the High Court so that the High Court can now finally make a determination on the London judgment."

Lungu said it was his considered view that the Supreme Court exhibited its independence over the matter.

"There have been statements that have been attributed that government does not want to see this London Court judgment finalised, and therefore all that has been going on has been a way of delaying the process and that the arguments that have been advanced are that the government does not want to enforce this judgment against president Chiluba," Lungu said.

"But what the Supreme Court has done is, the Supreme Court has looked at this matter objectively, has determined this matter looking at the provisions of the law that exist in Zambia, and has made a determination that the High Court judge was not wrong when he dismissed that preliminary application."

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by Chiluba, Kabwe, and Chungu on preliminary issues relating to the registration of the London High Court judgment.

This is in a matter before Deputy Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima, Supreme Court justices Dennis Chirwa and Marvin Mwanamwambwa where Chiluba, Kabwe and Chungu appealed against a ruling of Lusaka High Court judge Evans Hamaundu refusing to hear their preliminary issues separately from the main case.

London High Court judge Peter Smith on May 4, 2007 found Chiluba and 19 other defendants liable of having defrauded the Zambian government out of millions of Kwacha ordering them to pay back the money.

And commenting on the debate surrounding Chiluba and the striping of his benefits because of his involvement in politics, Lungu wondered why Chiluba's activities always attracted public outcry.

Lungu said the involvement of former presidents in active politics was not good for the political climate in the country.

“The extent of the activities also needs to be looked at but one question that I have to ask is why is it that there is nothing being said about Kenneth Kaunda? Most of the time these issues have to do with Chiluba,” Lungu wondered.
He said it was not good for a former president to be accosted by members of the public because of his activities. Lungu said the prevailing situation was not good for the country's democracy.

“Why should a former president involve himself in active politics? Why do such things? Even though we are at liberty to do what we what, but we need to be mindful of the consequences that such activities have on society,” Lungu said. “What message are you telling the people on the streets out there if you start engaging in active politics?”

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