Saturday, February 26, 2011

TIZ urges incorruptible, impartial judiciary

TIZ urges incorruptible, impartial judiciary
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT

PEOPLE are seeking a judiciary that will not be influenced, corrupted or compromised, Transparency International Zambia says.

During celebrations to mark a decade of its fight against corruption and building integrity, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said the independence of the judiciary was a major image of the professionalism and personal integrity exhibited by the persons who occupy different judicial offices.

He said judges appointed to the bench should be fearless advocates of justice for all and should be prepared to be courageous in defending the rule of law and the cause of justice.

“As ordinary Zambians, we seek a judiciary that will not be unduly influenced, corrupted or compromised, but one that dispenses justice regardless of the status and positions of all those who approach it,” Lungu said.

He said the judiciary should attract sharp legal minds, with necessary adjudicative competences and sufficient exposure to litigation to enable them discharge the functions of their offices effectively. On forthcoming general elections, Lungu said there was a need to strengthen the punishment for anyone who found him or herself violating the prohibitions of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He proposed that the enforcement of the code should not be the preserve of ECZ and the Zambia Police Service, but said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should have its independent section on issues of enforcement in the code of conduct, which clearly spelled out what they needed to do.

Lungu said the code should also guide the public on reporting mechanisms for wrongdoing.

“We are grateful that the Electoral Commission of Zambia in September last year, hosted a stakeholders' meeting in Livingstone to discuss and agree on the contents of the electoral code of conduct which we hope will be put to good use.

“We support and endorse Livingstone workshop resolutions that the code of conduct should bar traditional leaders from exerting undue pressure on their subjects to support a particular political party or candidate,” Lungu said.

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