MMD acting president Michael Mabenga says that the manner in which the decision was made to suspend a Supreme Court and two High Court judges raises serious questions on the judicial process in Zambia.
Mabenga says decisions regarding the suspension of judges are of great magnitude and are exceptionally rare. He commented that such drastic decisions are only fearfully entertained after thorough reflection and due consideration of all possible harmful effects they will have on the legal system and the ability of judges and officers of the court to perform their jobs independently.
Mabenga said MMD believes that an aggressive fight against corruption is necessary and that judicial reform is required, however these kinds of arbitrary and fragmented executive decisions are damaging to Zambia’s rule of law. The sacking of the judges by Sata gives the impression that the president is seeking to protect certain stakeholder partisan interest in disregard of the integrity of the bench, Mabenga said, referring to the cases in question relating to the enforcement of an unpaid debt by Mutembo Nchito, a member of Sata’s administration, and Fred M’membe, the editor of the Post Newspaper and close political ally.
He said the MMD may not be privy to the full facts regarding the cases itemized as a term of reference for the said tribunal, but the party believed that the hurried nature and timing of the action taken leads itself to suspicion that there are other fundamental wrongs and injustices that may be committed as a result of the presidential decision.