As judges, you should carry out your functions independently and should never be swayed by outside influences, President Edgar Lungu told newly sworn-in High Court judges, Thursday.

Speaking after swearing in eight High Court judges at State House, President Lungu also asked them to expedite disposal of cases.

“Let me start by congratulating each one of you honourable judges on your respective appointments to serve as judges of the High Court of Zambia. The positions you have been appointed to, are not only of great honour, but also come with immense responsibility. As you join the bench, your first task is to address one of the biggest concerns by members of the public, relating to the delay in the disposal of court cases. I expect that with your appointments which has substantially increased the number of High Court judges will improve the time taken to dispose of cases. This therefore, calls for a lot of hard work from you honourable judges. You are also expected to deliver quality and fair justice. As judges, you should carry out your functions independently and should never be swayed by outside influences. As the executive, we will continue to uphold and respect the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary,” President Lungu said.

“I am delighted to note that a good number of you are quite youthful. My government is passionate about creating opportunities for the youths and building their capacity as they form the majority of our population. It is a constitutional requirement as prescribed in Article 259, that appointments to public office should, among other things, take into account equitable representation of the youth, gender balance, and reflects the country’s regional diversity.”

President Lungu explained that he had appointed more men than women in order to balance numbers.

“Further, I am informed that of the 37 High Court judges, 21 are female and only 16 are male. The appointment of more male judges is meant to balance the numbers in the court,” said President Lungu.

“It is also worth noting that you are bringing a broad diversity of knowledge and experience to the bench as you have been drawn from the judicial service, the public service and the private sector. I have no doubt that this combination of knowledge and experience will enhance the speedy administration of justice. Let me emphasise that, as umpires of justice, you are expected to discharge your duties with independence, good judgement, competence and accountability. You should, at all times, bear in mind that judicial power and authority is derived from the people of Zambia.”

Those sworn in are Evaristo Pengele, Koreen Etambuyu Mwenda – Zimba, Kenneth Mulife, Wilfred Godfrey Kopa Muma, Ruth Hachitapika Chibbabbuka, Abha Nayar Patel, SC, Bonaventure Chakwawa Mbewe and Kazimbe Chenda.

The ceremony was witnessed by Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima, Minister of Justice Given Lubinda and Attorney General Likando Kalaluka among other Government Officials.