Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Linda Kasonde says it is unfortunate to see how political party cadres have taken over responsibilities of official government functions in maintaining order in the country.

And Kasonde says limiting the number of times a Presidential aspirant can contest elections would disadvantage high calibre candidates who are capable of transforming the country.

Meanwhile, Kasonde has asked the PF government to understand the separation of powers and leave the judiciary to operate freely and independently.

Speaking when she featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme yesterday, Kasonde expressed concern that cadres had taken over government functions.

“I for one thinks it’s very unfortunate to see how caderism is taking over what should be official government functions in terms of maintaining order in the country. Also, we have seen that our youths are being used in terms of perpetrating violence against people with opposing views on both sides. This is very unfortunate and I think it’s a trend that should be curtailed as soon as possible because it’s dividing our nation and it’s destroying our youth. There must be more productive ways in which our youths can use their energy and certainly, violence and intimidation is not one of them,” Kasonde said.

Asked how feasible it was to limit the number of attempts one can contest presidential elections, Kasonde said doing so would deprive the country of high calibre people capable of transforming the country.

“Well, I guess it’s feasible because it would require just a simple change in the law but what I can say is that we might be losing out on high calibre candidates if we now start to limit the number of attempts someone can make at Presidential level or ultimately, the decision is still up to the people of Zambia to decide whether or not they still want to elect you and I don’t see why the ability to make that choice should be limited,” she said.

And Kasonde said LAZ was still dealing with preliminary issues raised regarding President Lungu’s eligibility for the 2021 elections as the association awaited the ConCourt ruling on the matter.

“On the issue of the [President’s eligibility] I really can’t comment on the merits so much, but we are still dealing with some preliminary issues in that case. One of the issues that we have raised as LAZ is that the timing of whether or not there is illegibility is the right. It will be better towards the time when nominations are being filed because at that point, then all the other issues that will relate to eligibility will be there such as ‘have you paid your taxes, do you have a criminal offence?’ So, all those issues you can only determine during the time of filing the nominations, so that’s a preliminary issue that we have raised but I can’t go into the argument on this matter because we are a party to this case and the case is still ongoing,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kasonde said LAZ submitted a report to the Ministry of Justice to improve the low pass rate at ZIALE.

“Regarding the issue of ZIALE, certainly compared to the number of people that we have in this country which is around 15 million people, we have only a thousand lawyers. I think logic would indicate that the more lawyers are, the more accessible legal services would be to the general public and so we as LAZ have submitted a report to the Ministry of Justice to see what can be done to improve the low pass rate at ZIALE,” Kasonde said.

Kasonde also appealed to government to take its hands off the judiciary.

“You know what? Having gone through what LAZ has gone through, I think nothing can scare us now. I think we have been tested and time and time again we have come out stronger, so we are not easily swayed. And like I have said before, I think it’s unfortunate that the judiciary has been threatened and told what to do but the judiciary should be independent and free from any influence. So, I would once again want to ask the government to really respect the separation of powers in terms of the difference between the executive and the judiciary and allow the judiciary to do it’s work,” said Kasonde.