LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said government had an obligation to unconditionally comply with the court order and allow Banda to travel.
LAZ vice president George Chisanga said in a statement yesterday that the disobedience of the court order especially by the executive wing of government as exhibited yesterday would only seek to greatly undermine the justice system and the rule of law that courts were created to protect and foster.
“Such a state of affairs if not stemmed can lead to complete lawlessness and break down of society,” Chisanga said.
Chisanga reminded government to take a leading role in ensuring that judgments, rulings and other orders issued by the courts were complied with by officers charged with the task of implementing the law.
He urged government authorities to immediately ensure that Banda’s passage was facilitated so that the ruling of the court was given legal efficacy.
Below is the full statement
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE REFUSAL BY GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW MR RUPHIA BANDA TO TRAVEL ABROAD
The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) wishes to draw the attention of the Nation to the incident of this morning where former President Mr Ruphia Banda was denied permission by the Immigration Department to travel to South Africa
In order that LAZ makes its position known to the public on this matter, LAZ has obtained a copy of the Ruling of the Honourable Madam Justice J. K. Kabuka dated 6th June 2013
After considering the ruling of the Court LAZ has observed that the Honourable Judge gave the parties very clear and unambiguous directives. This ruling states on page R17 thereof as follows:
“For the reasons already given the application is granted and the Applicant is hereby allowed to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend the African Presidential Centre Roundtable Conference 2013, for four days from the 6th to the 9th June 2013. The Applicant is to be accompanied by his surety Mikatazo Wakumelo whose name appears as surety on the two police bonds granted in respect of both offences of abuse of authority of office and corruption. The passport is to be released into the custody of the said surety
I hereby order the Government Joint Investigative Team to release the Applicant’s passport for the period of four days only from 6 – 9th June 2013, which he must surrender back upon their return. The bond conditions are accordingly varied to that extent and this variation is for the period stated”
The view formed by LAZ is therefore that it is incumbent upon the Government as party to the proceedings to unconditionally comply with the Ruling of the Court. For this reason the steps taken by the Immigration Officers to block Mr Banda from traveling abroad are not only illegal but they directly border on contempt of Court. LAZ is not in any doubt that the Advocates representing Mr Banda being Senior members of the Bar will take the necessary steps provided for in the law which are designed at ensuring that the law visits upon the perpetrators of this clear contempt of Court.
On its part, LAZ wishes to remind the Government to take a leading role in ensuring that judgments, rulings and other Orders issued by the Courts of our Country are complied with by Officers charged with the task of implementing the law. Disregarding very concise directives such as the ones issued by Honourable Justice Kabuka, especially by Government Officers, can have dire consequences on the Country’s rule of law and the jurisprudence that the public expects to develop from our Courts as established by law. We wish to earnestly urge the relevant Government authorities to immediately ensure that Mr Banda’s passage is facilitated so that the ruling of the High Court is given legal efficacy.
The disobedience of Court Orders, especially by the Executive Wing of Government, as exhibited today will seek only to greatly undermine the justice system and the rule of law that that Courts were created to protect and foster. Such a state of affairs if not stemmed can lead to complete lawlessness and break down of Society.
It is in recognition of this fundamental truth that the Council of the Law Association of Zambia has decided to review all options available to it to ensure that all subjects of the law and, especially the Government comply with Court Orders, Rulings and judgments.