Lord Justice

by mazuba mwiinga

Its been said that justice should not only be done, but always seen to be done in all matters that come before our courts of law irrespective of who is involved.

Victor Chilekwa’s contempt of Supreme Court judgement should not be dismissed as a mere case of an insolent litigant with an abusive language. Much as we know that sometimes the means may not justify the end, we should also realise that there is no smoke without fire.

We know for sure that there are rules and procedures to be followed when one is aggrieved over something; but sometimes it becomes so suspicious when one realises how un fairly he may feel to have been treated especially when one sees that he has reached a dead end of the judicial process of his case still feeling being stabbed from his back.

Chilekwa stated that “law was not like witchcraft or shrines that had to be kept secret... (but that its there) to control the exercise of constitutional power” (The Post March 31, 2010). And I believe it’s this ‘secrecy’ that is now making every Jim and Jack nosy in an effort to find out what is there hidden in law books that seems too sacred to be known by the Public.

I feel such statements tell us clearly that there is something deadly wrong with our Constitution. The checks and balances principle of separation of powers as defined by French scholar Montesqueieu whose ideas come from another prominent scholar John Locke, are now reaping its fruits of our disregarding that which was to bring sanity in our judicial system.

If citizens of a nation reach a stage where they are able to see what they claim to be inconsistence and unfairness in the judicial process, and fearlessly without any remorse, spit it out so angrily, then we should rake our minds and ask ourselves why?

When an officer of the court (more than15 years of law practice) dares the bench and calls it “stupid judgment by stupid judges”, one has to review the perception our courts of law have been exposed to. It means people day in and day out, are losing hope, respect and confidence in our judicial system. And I believe all this goes back to our poorly drafted constitution that gives the President so much powers over the arm of the judicially.

The President appoints the Supreme Court Justices without any consultations from any one. How he chooses them is no one’s business. And such a system will always pump some doubts and suspicions on citizens as to why the President chose that particular Judge because his actions has no other arm with powers to check his appointments.

Justice Mambilima said “wild unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against any member of the bench could not be condoned”. But the learned Justice should also know that corruption is not like murder, where you will be able to bring the dead body or show a certificate of post-mortem from the medical Doctor; but it’s rather a perceived crime according to someone’s conduct in society. That’s why it’s so hard for one to prove that someone else is corrupt.

Judge Philip Musonda’s Law Lecture of 2007 as quoted by Chilekwa that, 'We as judges are called Lords because we are expected to be pure...” clearly shows us a guiding point of principled perception expected of judges. Since it’s just a perception just as corruption is, we can therefore only suspect that one judge is corrupt when his conducts becomes ‘impure’ even when we don’t have tangible evidence to show that that show of ‘impurity’ is actually due to corruption.

The Victor Chilekwa case therefore as Justice Mambilima said that never in the history of the country has such an insult been publicly uttered by a lawyer against a court; stands as a pure precedent that needs intensive investigation as to why people have lost confidence even in the highest law interpreters of our land.

Copyright: mazuba mwiinga 31.03.2010


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