PRESS STATEMENT No. 3 ISSUED ON 10th JANUARY 2018: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we are concerned with the continued abuse of authority of office by the Chief Justice of Zambia in her quest to settle a personal vendetta against a Livingstone based Magistrate, Honourable Benjamin Mwelwa. This personal vendetta is said to have arose after a Livingstone Subordinate Court that was being presided by Magistrate Mwelwa locked up a niece to the Chief Justice, who at the time was in-house Legal Counsel for ZAWA, for contempt of court. This niece to the Chief Justice is said to have vowed to get her revenge against the Honourable Magistrate.
2. Subsequent to the above incident, the said niece filed a complaint with the Judicial Complaints Authority against Magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa, which the JCA did not find to have merit and dismissed. In the quest to make sure that she assisted to settle her niece’s personal vendetta against the Magistrate for locking the niece up in the ordinary discharge of his duties, the Chief Justice then instructed a then Acting Chief Registrar of the Judiciary to suspend Magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa on 9th August 2016, on flimsy grounds. According to the letter of suspension attached hereto, the said flimsy grounds were that the Magistrate misconducted himself by referring a matter involving the People Vs. Milford and others, to the High Court for determination of constitutional issues which had been raised by the defense regarding the right of the DPP to enter a nolle prosequi.
3. In 2017, the Patriots for Economic Progress challenged the Chief Justice to cite the law which gives power to the Chief Registrar to suspend a Magistrate and our challenge was met with threats from the Chief Justice that we are violating the constitution by challenging her, as well as accusations that we were a hired gun. Of course all these accusations are baseless and merely a lame attempt by the Chief Justice to divert attention to side issues away from the main issue which is the law that gives a Chief Registrar power to suspend a Magistrate. In response to our several letters querying the malicious suspension of Magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa; on 27th December 2017, the Chief Justice alleged that the reason the Magistrate was suspended is because she received a complaint against the Magistrate from the Anti-Corruption Commission. It is worth noting that this reason conflicts her earlier reason given in the original letter of suspension of the Magistrate, dated 9th August 2016 that the Magistrate was suspended because he referred a matter involving the People Vs Milford and others to the High Court for determination of constitutional issues. This is clear evidence that the Chief Justice is continuously fishing for reasons to justify her malicious suspension of Magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa.
4. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we believe in total independence of not only the Judiciary as a body, but also the independence of individual judicial officers and judges. Junior judicial officers must not be subject to the direction or control of senior judicial officers when determining matters before their respective courts. As a Party, we shall not rest until we ensure that those who hold positions of authority do not abuse their high positions to persecute junior officers and help their nieces to settle personal vendettas.
5. In this regard, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress hereby call upon the Republican President and appointing authority of the Chief Justice, to investigate the possible misconduct of the Chief Justice in this matter and take appropriate corrective action. This country is blessed with a lot of capable men and women who can diligently serve in the position of Chief Justice. As a nation, we must never allow ourselves to be beholden to individuals who want to hide behind the respectability of their offices to persecute junior officers. The citizens of this Republic can be rest assured that we in the Patriots for Economic Progress shall not allow that to happen. Not under our watch!
Thank You and May God Bless the Great Citizens of the Republic of Zambia and Our Ailing Nation.
SEAN ENOCK TEMBO (SET)
PATRIOTS FOR ECONOMIC PROGRESS (PeP)