Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LAZ is creating unnecessary friction with govt - Kabimba
By Roy Habaalu
Tue 23 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba says LAZ is creating unnecessary friction with government.

And Kabimba says there is a presumption by the Law Association of Zambia that lawyers serving in government were dull and incompetent.
Meanwhile LAZ president James Banda said judges that won't comply with judicial reforms would fall off.

During a meeting with LAZ members at his office, Kabimba said he disagreed with the lawyers' body when it wanted to speak as a government.

"I am not LAZ president. I am Minister of Justice and I disagree when LAZ wants to speak as a parallel government. LAZ didn't put up a presidential candidate so there is a clear distinction between the role of government and that of LAZ. We are creating unnecessary friction between us. There is an attempt to juxtapose things. We need mutual respect for each other and we will live in harmony," he said.

"Even if LAZ members voted against PF, we would have won (the 2011 election). You are not a political bloc, you only have 400 members. I know and accept that we've made mistakes. We are mortals. When you have an issue, don't approach me in a fighting spirit. Don't make me become defensive, it's not worth it. I hear you didn't vote for some people that are close to me at the last AGM. It's unfair. I have no stooges in LAZ. It's unfair to punish people perceived to be close to me personally and professionally."

Kabimba said LAZ felt that members that left the legal fraternity were unreasonable.

"There is a presumption that when people move from the legal fraternity into government, they become unreasonable, dull and can't be trusted but for me, I want to assure you that LAZ has an ally in me as Minister of Justice to forge a common agenda. I am not here to perform a task that will undermine LAZ. If anything, I would like to see a strong LAZ speaking in national interest and that of our people. That's the partnership I want to build," he said.

Kabimba said judicial reforms were in the PF manifesto because they were convinced something needed to be done about it.

He said there had been no reforms in the Judiciary for a long time apart from piecemeal ones.

Kabimba said instead of judicial reforms, the government would embark on legal and justice reforms.

He said the last sitting of Cabinet approved the legal and justice reforms that would include stakeholders like LAZ, Prison Service, Judicial Complaints Authority, the Judiciary, Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) and the Legal Aid Board.

Kabimba said the government would reform the judicial system and not individuals.

"I have no time for retribution against anybody. I am here to ensure that reforms come up with an instrument that will demand that all human beings perform professionally and those that fail to fit in will be rejected by the system itself. That's my point of departure with LAZ. I have my own battles with some people in the Judiciary while in the opposition but I will not use that to fight anyone because I am here to help the people of Zambia," he said.

Kabimba said in accordance with government reforms, a judge that failed to deliver judgment within a specified period of time risked being cited for professional conduct.

And Banda admitted that there was a problem in the Judiciary that needed fixing.

"Individuals that won't comply with the reforms will fall away. For us, it's an advantage to have our members in government. LAZ is worried with the dwindling levels of confidence in the judiciary," said Banda.

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