Saturday, June 09, 2012
By Namatama Mundia
Sat 09 June 2012, 13:00 CAT
CHIEF Justice Ernest Sakala has asked the Church to pray for judges especially during this period. Speaking after he received 55 Bibles from Save Rural Africa Foundation president chief Chipepo at the High Court yesterday, justice Sakala however, said there was nobody in the Judiciary who was resisting judicial reforms particularly genuine reforms.
He said if reforms in the Judiciary meant dismissing the Chief Justice and judges, then he was not competent to comment but added that genuine reforms were welcome.
Justice Sakala said reforms in the Judiciary started long before the public outcry as he had said before.
Justice Sakala asked the Church in the country to continuously remember the Judiciary in their prayers, especially the judges.
"…when the Judiciary has attracted so much attention from members of the public as well as from the Church, including some members of my own church, the Catholic Church," justice Sakala said.
"But despite the different views that have been expressed by many people, including the Church about and on the Judiciary, on one thing we are all agreed. That is, that we all need an independent and accountable Judiciary because without it, there would be anarchy in our country."
On Thursday, Lusaka Catholic Archbishop, Telesphore Mpundu said the Judiciary should be dissolved if it continued to resist reforms.
Archbishop Mpundu said the Judiciary was not a sacred cow that should be left untouched when it made mistakes.
Several stakeholders too have asked justice Sakala to resign to pave way for robust judicial reforms.
Law Association of Zambia president James Banda when beginning his term of office said that the professional body would ensure that it restored and maintained the integrity of the Judiciary.
But justice Sakala then responded to Banda that the Judiciary would wait to see how LAZ would restore the Judiciary's integrity.
During the opening of the High Court criminal sessions for 2012 in Lusaka, justice Sakala said he was not sure if LAZ was aware of the challenges being faced by the courts.
"I have seen in the press today where LAZ is talking about restoring integrity to the Judiciary. We will wait to see how LAZ will do that. I am not sure if LAZ has any idea of the challenges faced by the judiciary," he said then.
Copperbelt University student leaders also argued that justice Sakala had openly shown how partisan he was under Rupiah Banda.
Yesterday, justice Sakala said that the concept of legal and judicial reforms was accepted by all of them adding that it must not be understood to mean the destruction of the Judiciary but the improvement of the Judiciary.
"Individuals will continue being appointed as judges or even as chief justices, but their time to leave will come and they will go. But the judiciary as an institution, will remain and will continue," he said.
Justice Sakala said he does not believe that the presentation of the Bibles to the judges was simply a mere coincidence that the Foundation chose this particular time to present them.
"In my view, you must have been inspired to choose this time. The inspirations must have come about because the Holy Bibles contain good news. Yes, there could have been no better time for presenting the good news to the judiciary than now. For obvious reasons, I do not intend to elaborate on this," he said.
Justice Sakala said the presentation of the Bibles to the adjudicators symbolised the importance which the Foundation attached to the moral fabrics of the adjudicators.
He said he considered the Bible to be a higher constitution, which embodies all the constitutions and laws of the world.
Justice Sakala said the presentation of the Bibles marked an indelible milestone in the history of the Judiciary.
And chief Chipepo said there would be revival in the Judiciary and people would start smiling.
"There will be nobody who will talk ill about the other," he said.
Chief Chipepo said judges were a group of people who needed to be respected at all levels.
"You can't talk ill about a judge just like you can't talk ill of a President," he said.
And Pastor Wisdom Gondwe prayed for justice Sakala and other judges that God should lead them and the Judiciary where he wants them to be.
He also prayed for God's protection over the judges.