PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has called on Judges to exercise impartiality and high levels of integrity in the discharge of their duties ahead of the August elections.
And President Lungu says his government is addressing funding to the Judiciary to meet Judges’ entitlements as provided for under the law.
The Head of State was speaking, Thursday, during the swearing-in ceremony for Judges of the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal.
Those sworn in are Constitutional Court Judges; Justice Mwila Chitabo, SC, Justice Mathew Kasonde Chisunka and Justice Judy Zulu Mulongoti.
Others are, Supreme Court Judge Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga and Court of Appeal Judges; Justice Anessie Michael Banda-bobo, Justice Nicola Ann Sharpe-Phiri and Justice Kelvin Muzenga.
President Lungu noted that the role of the judiciary, particulary in this election year, would be critical as most political players and other stakeholders would seek different forms of court relief.
He also said he was glad that the appointments were fair in gender balancing.
“I am glad that the appointments to these courts are fair in gender balancing. This is a clear demonstration that my government recognizes the positive contributions that women in the Judiciary are making in the dispensation of justice. With this progressive milestone, I urge you all not to lose sight of the fact that the positions you have been appointed to are not only of great honour, but also come with immense responsibility and high expectations from members of the public,” President Lungu said.
“The role of the Judiciary, particularly, this year when our country is going to the general elections on August 12, will be critical as most political players and other stakeholders will seek different forms of court relief. This, therefore, calls for you members of the bench to exercise impartiality and high levels of integrity in the discharge of your duties. I am confident that your individual diverse experiences in the administration of justice in your previous capacities in the judiciary will be invaluable as you take up your respective new roles.”
President Lungu further said with the appointment of three ConCourt judges, the number had now increased to nine Judges.
“I am aware that in terms of its composition, the Constitutional Court is supposed to have 13 Judges. On the other hand, the Court of Appeal has an establishment of 19 Judges. You may wish to know that the Constitutional Court from its inception in 2016 has had seven judges. However, the number reduced to six following the untimely death of the Justice Enock Mulembe in December, 2020. Therefore, the new appointment of three Constitutional Court judges translates to an increase to nine Judges of the Constitutional Court. On the other hand, the Court of Appeal has been operating with 12 judges. Following the appointment of two judges of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, respectively, there will be 10 judges of the Court of Appeal. However, the appointment of three judges of the Court of Appeal will increase the number from 10 to 13,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu said his government was addressing funding to the Judiciary to meet judges’ entitlements.
He further said his government would soon undertake a robust construction of court infrastructure to address the critical challenge of inadequate space faced by the Judiciary.
“I wish to assure the judiciary that my government is committed to ensuring that the establishment of the Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal is filled to optimum levels. The appointments of judges to the two courts is evidence of this commitment. I am aware that the Judiciary’s commendable efforts to deliver timely and efficient justice will only bear fruit when challenges facing the institution are addressed. These challenges include insufficient space to accommodate judges and support staff and provision of official transport for judges of the superior courts. To this effect, my government will soon undertake a robust construction of court infrastructure to address the critical challenge of inadequate space faced by the Judiciary. My government is further addressing funding to the judiciary to meet judges’ entitlements as provided for under the law,” President Lungu said.
“I call upon you all to continue reflecting on the expectations of the people of Zambia from the Judiciary. The people of Zambia expect that you will discharge your duties with unparalleled high levels of professionalism inspired by the principals of judicial authority provided for in Article 118 (2) of the Zambian Constitution.”