Saturday, June 16, 2012
By Bright Mukwasa, Ernest Chanda and Henry Sinyangwe
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:30 CAT
FORMER chief justice Ernest Sakala and his deputy Dennis Chirwa requested to go on leave pending their retirement, says justice minister Sebastian Zulu. And LAZ president James Banda says he is hopeful the two senior justices would join other stakeholders to achieve meaningful reforms in the Judiciary as well as the legal profession.
President Michael Sata on Friday appointed justice Lombe Chibesakunda acting Chief Justice replacing justice Sakala. He also replaced justice Chirwa with justice Florence Mumba.
"Justice Lombe Chibesakunda was appointed to act because the former Chief Justice Ernest Sakala has requested President Sata to go on leave pending their retirement," Zulu told journalists yesterday.
"So the move was from the judges themselves not us…and we have got to do the reforms. We are together with judges, we are on the same side with the judiciary."
Zulu also described the move to appoint female justices to head the Judiciary as progressive.
And Banda said LAZ would remain focused on the structured process of judicial reform which they had already embarked on.
Banda said the legal fraternity had every confidence that justices Chibesakunda and Mumba would, in the period that they were acting, help to move the process of reforms forward.
"As we welcome the appointments of justices Lombe Chibesakunda and Florence Mumba as acting Chief Justice and acting deputy Chief Justice respectively, and notwithstanding that the appointments are only in an acting capacity, it is our sincere hope that the two honourable justices will get the Judiciary to work with the Law Association of Zambia and other stakeholders to achieve meaningful reforms in the Judiciary as well as the legal profession," Banda said.
"We have always believed that the Judiciary itself should take the lead in this process of correcting matters and not allow a situation where reforms are forced on it due to inertia or lack of initiative on the part of the Judiciary. Introspection is very cardinal in this respect."
Banda thanked Justices Sakala and Chirwa for their long service and wished them well.
And FODEP has commended President Sata over the duo's appointment.
During a press briefing yesterday, Forum for Democratic Progress (FODEP) president Shepherd Chilombe, said his organisation felt delighted with the continued recognition of women in key decision-making positions.
FODEP feels delighted by his Excellency President Sata's recognition of women in key decision-making positions such as the ACC, police, and more recently the judiciary. We strongly feel that this gesture speaks volumes of government commitment in meeting the SADC requirement of 30 per cent of women representation in key decision-making positions, said Chilombe.