ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) says there is need to create systems and processes that will guarantee the integrity of the Judiciary beyond the government of the day.
Commenting on the investigation being carried out by the Anti Corruption Commission into two High Court judges for abuse of office and theft involving K3 million, ACA senior information and advocacy officer Jimmy Maliseni said a thorough vetting process was needed before judges were appointed in order for the Judiciary to regain its integrity.
“We agree with the position that there must be much more thorough processes in terms of how judicial officers are appointed into office. We also want to ride on the comment made by the Chief Justice when he said that the Judiciary should not insulate itself from criticism. Coming from a situation where judicial officers, judges in particular were quick to cite people for contempt of court as the case was in the matter involving Mr Gregory Chifire and his colleague. So there has been intimidation of people by the Judiciary in this country up to this point. So we agree with the position that there must be more thorough processes in terms of how people ascend to the bench from the bar,” he said.
“We believe that it is due to that lack of thoroughness that today the Judiciary finds itself in a very difficult position where there are so many conflicting positions in terms of how the adjudication of matters in this country have been done leading to the public being dissatisfied. The public may not be legal experts but they are able to see inconsistencies in terms of how the Judiciary makes its decision. We are in total agreement with both Mr Sangwa and before him the Chief Justice that there is need for the Judiciary to regain its integrity and vetting judges is one of the things we need to do.”
He said there was need to create systems and processes that would guarantee the integrity of the Judiciary beyond the government of the day.
“We should not tie that process to the political administration that we have at any given time. In our view that should not be done because we now have UPND as the political party running the affairs of the country or the ruling party as they are called. But rather it should be more about the national good. So what we should be looking at is creating systems and processes that will guarantee the integrity of the Judiciary beyond the life of the UPND in government, however long that lasts. So in our view we should not tie that to the current political party in power but rather we should ask ourselves as a country what sought of integrity levels we want to prevail in the Judiciary and then work as Mr Sangwa has proposed, work around strengthening the process via vetting,” said Maliseni.