In the wake of the unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court of Zambia to jail Gregory Chifire for six years, the Young African Leaders Initiative calls on fellow activists, politicians and the media to reflect on our common duty to protect the Judiciary, says Andrew Ntewewe.
Ntewewe, who is YALI president, said in a statement yesterday that citizens and the media alike had a duty of encouraging judges to deliver their rulings, boldly and without fear.
He said whilst he strongly disagreed with the court’s ruling, he accepted it.
“In the wake of the unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court of Zambia to jail Mr Chifire for six years, the Young African Leaders Initiative, call on fellow activists, politicians and the media to reflect on our common duty in the protection of the independence of the judiciary. We at YALI have a long held belief to uphold and defend the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary, inspired by the immortal words of Vice-President Algore of the USA. In his concession speech, after one of the most brutally contested elections in the USA, which was even subjected to an electoral petition in the Supreme Court, Vice-President Algore stated and we quote ‘over the library of one of our great law schools is inscribed the motto: Not under man, but under God and law. That’s the ruling principle of American freedom, the source of our democratic liberties. I’ve tried to make it my guide throughout this contest, as it has guided America’s deliberations of all the complex issues of the past five weeks. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome’,” Ntewewe stated.
“While it is human nature to always want court judgments come out in support of opinions we hold, which are mostly tainted with political preferences, the growing tendency among media houses, politicians and activists to disrespect our courts and judges is a recipe for anarchy and has a potential to affect the administration of justice. YALI reminds members of the public that in our adversarial system of justice, the courts have a very unpopular but extremely noble task of delivering judgments which can only favour one party to the disputed question and everybody who appears before the court ought to be prepared to accept such judgments especially when delivered by the highest courts of the land, that is, the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.”
Ntewewe emphasised that all citizens had a duty to protect the integrity of the judiciary.
“It is no wonder we get inspiration from Vice-President Algore, who was clear and candid that he strongly disagreed the decision of the Supreme Court but he accepted it. He did not insult the Supreme Court judges, neither did he use derogatory language against the SCOTUS, but with civility and decorum, he respectfully disagreed with the Supreme Court but accepted it’s decision. Judges, including the Chief Justice, are accountable to the people of Zambia and Zambia’s legal system provides a mechanism for the Judicial Complaints Commission as the only forum for citizens to utilise in holding judges who may be engaged in wrongdoing accountable. Inspired by Vice President Algore, we strongly oppose the growing attitude and tendency where politicians and activists resort to using the media to taint the image of the courts or even intimidate the courts before they deliver judgments,” stated Ntewewe.
“Our citizens and the media alike have a duty to encourage the judges to deliver their rulings, boldly and without fear. All of us have a duty to protect the integrity of the judiciary and the media should must play a pivotal role. We therefore call on citizens to support our judiciary in its noble tasks of delivering justice instead of always expecting our courts to write judgments that favour our opinion, an opinion of a media house or political opinions.”