Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says an investigation of judges’ competence and gross misconduct is a constitutional issue which can only be done through means stipulated in the Constitution of Zambia. He has charged that any other means to probe judges is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
Responding to a press query on the call by some NGOs for Government to constitute a commission of inquiry to investigate judges who had their judgments questioned by the public, Mr. Sinkamba said the constitution provides for such an investigation. He said the institution delegated to do so is the Judicial Complaints Commission and the procedure for doing so is prescribed through the Judicial Code of Conduct Act.
“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It provides that judges should be probed through JCC. It is therefore unconstitutional and thereby illegal to come up with another commission of inquiry to investigate the judges besides through the means provided for in the constitution. Not only that. It also does not make logic to come up with a commission when there is already a commission,” Mr. Sinkamba charged.
He also said coming up with another commission would be a waste of meager public resources. He advised persons with complaints against judges to submit such complaints to the Judicial Complaints Commission and not merely complain to the media.
“Coming up with another commission would not only be a waste of public resources but also illogical logic. Let those who have complaints against the judges file their complaints to the appropriate institution delegated by the constitution to deal with such matters,” he said.
He added that is people are dissatisfied with the JCC outcomes, only then can make proposals to parliament to make amendments to the Constitution to change the mode of such probes.
“If the JCC fails to deal with reported cases satisfactorily, only then can the nation consider reviewing the constitution through parliament to come up with another way of dealing with complaints against the judges,” he said.
“And until the constitution is amended to provide for another way of dealing with the judges complaint, the existing arrangement with continue as the only means by which complaints against judges will be dealt with,” he added.
He charged that as a constitutional democracy, Zambians must always strive to deal with all matters confronting the nation in the manner provided for in the constitution.
“We should avoid unconstitutional and illegal short-cuts to deal with constitutional matters. Let us all protect and defend the constitution. We should abhor repugnant act and ideas that border on short-circuiting the constitutional provisions,” he said.