Justice Minister Given Lubinda says the number of acquittals and nolles being recorded are a sign that PF government does not interfere with the justice system.
Speaking in parliament on Friday when he sumarised debate on his ministry’s 2018 allocated budget, Lubinda also said those who are on nolles must not feel comfortable thinking that they had been acquitted.
“The acquittals that you see must not be attributed to government interfering with the judicial process because had that been the case in the acquittals, if we had a hand in deciding who should be acquitted and who shouldn’t, we should have made sure that those who are suspected of committing murder are not acquitted. But because we are a democratic institution, a democratic government, we allow the justice system to take the order of the day. That is the reason why you see all these acquittals. And yes, for the DPP they also ask themselves, ‘have we prepared ourselves adequately?’ Now you must understand that there are so many players in this matter, there is the investigation that is involved and there is also a question of witnesses. And also a question of the advocates and imagine 400 cases…,” Lubinda said.
“Secondly, I want to assure you that the provision of the law is very clear as to the power that the DPP has whether to continue or decontinue with the matter. And it is up to the DPP without referring to anybody, the DPP has the power to decide whether to enter a nolle or not to enter a nolle. There are cases Honourable Kambwili, where people have been acquitted and they have been compensated. There are also others where the justice system or the criminal delivery system has realised that this person may be called again because we are not convinced that this person is innocent. They enter a nolle looking for further information, further evidence. So those who are on nolles must not think that they have been acquitted.”
Lubinda explained why there was a shortage of state advocates.
“There are a number of reasons why we have insufficient advocates. One of which is the staff establishment in the Attorney Generals’ chamber. And the second sir is because like all of us know, there is a limit beyond which we can go with regarding the payment for personal emoluments. We cant just employ because we have to employ, all those considerations. But I did indicate that the Attorney General has been beefed up with 21 advocates. I want to assure you that even the Law Association of Zambia is aware of the fact that there is a lot that can be done to improve the performance of ZIALE,” said Lubinda.
Meanwhile Eastern province Minister Makebi Zulu said there was no judgment that cab be passed anywhere to change the outcome of the presidential election petition.
“It should be noted that there is no election petition in Zambia or anywhere else in the world that will be passed in any court that has an effect of bringing back the demised petition that failed on the 14th day of the 14 days. And we dare not talk about a dead petition as it is not there. Perhaps the only issue that is before court that relates to the petition is for the court to determine whether the cases were held or not, that’s all. Mr Chairman, maturity is the ability to accept responsibility,” Zulu said.
And Zulu justified the context in which President Edgar Lungu uttered the alleged threats to the constitutional court judges.
“The statement by the President was a comparative analysis between the Kenyan incident and the Zambian incident. The president said to the judges ‘do not copy the Kenyan judges’ that is to say act independently because it is incumbent upon the president as a person holding public office to foster and to protect the independent, dignity and effectiveness of the judiciary. That is a provision of our constitution. So Mr Syakalima you should dare to understand in context what the president did say to come to the conclusion that failure to act independent by the judiciary would land this country into mayhem and chaos. A track in the point by the president and if you did read in context, the report in all the tabloids, they suggest that the president is saying to the judiciary ‘act independently with dignity and effectiveness, do not copy what others are doing’. Because if that happens, we will land in a situation that you fear as is happening in our neighboring country where someone refused to leave office,” said Zulu.
“But it is surprising that you are saying that the president is proposing chaos when that was put in context to say if you do not protect the independence of the judiciary, it may result into chaos.”