Monday, July 22, 2013

Traditional leadership critical in judicial system - chief Chikanta
By Cynthia Phiri in Choma
Mon 08 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

CHIEF Chikanta of the Tonga people of Kalomo district in Southern Province says the engagement of traditional leadership in the judicial system is critical to the development of justice in the country.

Speaking at a Communication, Cooperation and Coordination Initiative launch workshop for the Judiciary at Mahogany Bush Lodge in Choma, chief Chikanta said the initiative of CCCI needed to be propelled in order to enhance equal justice to all citizens in the country regardless of their status.

He said the only way to enhance access to justice was to improve communication and cooperation as well as coordination among all key responsible stakeholders in the judicial system.

Chief Chikanta said the initiative had been launched at a right time when Choma had become the provincial headquarters thereby, making communication and coordination fundamental to the improvement of the judicial system in the district.

He disclosed that currently the traditional leadership was playing a bigger role in the judicial system noting that rural areas had the majority number of courts as compared to the urban courts which only had one local court overseeing all cases referred from traditional courts.

"So through this programme, we are confident that traditional courts will help decongest the local court and as a result of that, even prisons will also be decongested," chief Chikanta said.

He added that the CCCI programme would not only assist chiefs to sensitise people about their rights but would also help them deliver justice.

And Prisons deputy commissioner Fredrick Chilukutu said chiefs were important partners in the country's legal aid system.

Chilukutu said access to justice was a very important governance component in a democratic country like Zambia hence its inclusion in the fifth and sixth national development plans.

He said collaboration among stakeholders could help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice sector in the country.

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