“Respect independence of judiciary”
FODEP is deeply appalled by Mr. Amos Chanda’s unjustifiable and unfortunate attacks on the judiciary and we wonder whether such unwarranted attacks have the blessings of HE President Edgar Lungu.
According to the United Nations basic principles on the independence of the judiciary and the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges, the bench is sacrosanct and its well-considered decisions, though contestable by professional legal means, should not be subject to any outside influence, including the influence of the Presidency.
FODEP would like to further remind Mr. Chanda on the provisions on the Republican Constitution in Articles 122 (2) which state: “A person holding a public office shall not interfere with performance of a judicial function by a judge or judicial officer” (4) “A person holding a public office shall protect the independence, dignity and effectiveness of the judiciary”.
The judiciary should decide on matters before them objectively, based on facts and in accordance with the law. It should not be under any restrictions, inducements, pressures, threats, or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter for any reason. Rules concerning the exercise of judicial decisions should aim at enabling judges to act without fear or favor. It sets a fatally wrong precedent when people like Mr. Chanda a senior civil servant make statements insinuating that the presidency is above the law. In fact, the independence of the Judiciary should be guaranteed by the Presidency itself and it ought to be the duty of all governmental institutions to uphold the principles of separation of powers that encompasses the independence of the judiciary. We therefore challenge Mr. Chanda to practice widely acceptable tenets of democracy by avoiding commenting on matters that are still active in the Courts of law.
A flurry of commentaries and examination from different sections of society have been flying around ever since the High Court nullified the 4 parliamentary seats particularly those held by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF). Some of the statements uttered constitute an attack on the State itself — a contempt of the court in a way. It is mind-defying that the judiciary only becomes subject of vitriol when it sanctions a constitutionally protected right,
Mr. Chimfwembe Mweenge