Justice Minister Given Lubinda says he will not allow any member of the executive to interfere in the operations of the judiciary.
And Magistrates and Judges Association of Zambia (MAJAZ) president Fyises Hamaundu said the objective of her organisation was to promote the independence of the judiciary.
Speaking when he met MAJAZ members, Lubinda said he would never summon a member of the judiciary to his office for questioning.
“The independence of the judiciary cannot be overemphasised. I wouldn’t in any way as Minister of Justice entertain any member of the executive interfering even with the lowest court. A few times in Parliament my colleagues have said things that turn to encourage the executive to get involved in decisions being made by the judiciary and I have been very consistent that we wouldn’t. I have also turned myself into your spokesperson and I think that’s the right position. Its not easy for you in the judiciary to defend yourselves. But I have stated how dismayed I am by some members of our society who when you arrive at a verdict, which goes against them, they are so incest that instead of just commenting on the verdict, they comment on the character of the person who passed the verdict and they call you all sorts of names. When you pass a verdict that is in their favour ironically they don’t pass positive comments on the character of the person who passed that verdict. Instead they say ‘I deserved it, I’m right’,” Lubinda observed.
He said it was the duty of the executive to defend the independence of the judiciary.
“If a leader of a political party, be it ruling or opposition, casts aspersions against the judiciary, they are denting that doctrine of independence with the judiciary. It is the duty of that executive to defend that independence. So we will only interact on matters that are of concern to either party. I will not in any way call any member of the judiciary to come and meet with me on how they are executing their duty because that is outside the elm of the executive. You are a separate wing of government and the executive would like to give you your total independence,” said Lubinda.
Meanwhile Hamaundu explained the role of MAJAZ and its objectives.
“The Magistrates and Judges Association of Zambia (MAJAZ) is a body that draws its membership from adjudicators in the local courts, subordinate courts and all the superior courts in Zambia. Its patron is the Chief Justice of Zambia. The association is also affiliated to the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJ). The aims and objectives are; to promote the independence of the judiciary, to advance education in the law and administration of justice and to protect the interests of adjudicators in Zambia under the (CMJ) jurisdiction. Therefore, in order to achieve these objectives we felt that we must meet the minister of justice because without the minister of justice independence can not be promoted, without you we can not advance education and without you the interests of adjudicators would not be met,” said Hamaundu.