MPOROKOSO PF member of parliament Brian Mundubile says the current laws are sufficient to allow for the advertisement of the Chief Justice position.
In an interview, Mundubile described the proposal by Constitutional Lawyer John Sangwa as a progressive idea.
He stated that the Judicial Service Commission could advertise and interview candidates for the position of Chief Justice before recommending a candidate to the President.
“It is a very progressive idea and the arguments I think that we have heard are sound, especially when he talks about the Judicial Service Commission recommending to the President, meaning they come up with a candidate. So, the internal procedure that they follow to come up with that candidate can include advertising and interviewing candidates. I think it is a progressive idea. The provision that talks about ‘the President shall appoint a Chief Justice on recommendation from the Judicial Service Commission’, what we are talking about are procedures to be undertaken by the Commission in coming up with the person that they recommend to the President,” Mundubile said.
“I think the current laws are sufficient to provide for advertising. So, the judicial Commission can advertise, interview candidates and then recommend the candidate to the President. What we are looking at is the procedure of coming with that person to be recommended. So, my sincere belief is that the current laws are sufficient to deal with that.”
Mundubile argued that advertising or interviewing a candidate for the Chief Justice position did not contradict any provision of the constitution, but could give the public an opportunity to get involved in the selection of a candidate.
“So for me, it will depend on who meets the qualifications. One strong point is that the President is required by recommendation of the Judicial Commission to appoint someone to the office of the Chief Justice, that is what is in the constitution. But of course, the process to come with that person to recommend to the President is left with the Judicial Service Commission. That is where I think that if we were just to abandon the practice, it was a practice where just a person is picked. So, you can depart from the old practice and just decide to leave it open, to make it a bit open,” he said.
“We now know that this practice is not strange because many other jurisdictions are actually doing that. I think the public would want to get more involved in the selection of a person who ascends to the position of Chief Justice. Like I said earlier, I believe that it does not contradict any provision of the constitution because it is left up to the Commission to come up with that person. So, the Commission can advertise, interview people and recommend to the President.”
Meanwhile, Mundubile said the appointment of a Chief Justice should not be based on personal or party preferences but on qualifications.
“For me, it is not what kind of person you would like, the Judicial Service Commission sets up a criteria and advertises, whoever qualifies and meets those qualifications suits to be Chief Justice. It is not about personal preferences or party preferences. In short, it is not about who the PF would want, it is about who qualifies for the job given [and] the criteria that has been set for choosing that particular person. Obviously, you are looking at a person who is credible and a person who of course will be impartial, the person who should earn that job on merit,” said Mundubile.