Chief Chikanta of the Tonga people of Kalomo district in Southern province says the engagement of traditional leadership in the judicial system is very critical to the development of justice in the country.
The traditional leader said the only way to enhance access to justice is to improve communication and cooperation as well as coordination among all key stakeholders in the judicial system.
Speaking at a Communication, Cooperation and Coordination Initiative (CCCI) launch workshop for the judiciary held at Mahogany Bush Lodge in Choma today, Chief Chikanta pointed out that the initiative of CCCI needs to be propelled in order to enhance equal justice to all citizens in the country regardless of their status.
He said the initiative has been launched at a right time especially that Choma has become the provincial headquarters thereby making communication and coordination a fundamental way to take if the district is to improve in the judicial system.
Chief Chikanta disclosed that currently the traditional leadership is playing a bigger role in the judicial system stating that rural areas have the majority number of courts as compared to the urban which has only one local court which oversees all cases referred from traditional courts.
“So through this program we are confident that traditional courts will help decongest the number of cases at the local court and as a result of that, even prisons will also be decongested,” Chief Chikanta said.
The traditional leader further said CCCI programme will not only assist chiefs to sensitize people about their rights but will also help them deliver justice.
And Deputy Commissioner for Prisons, Fredrick Chilukutu who was guest of honour said chiefs are important partners in the legal aid system in the country.
MrChilukutu said access to justice is a very important governance component in a democratic country like Zambia hence its inclusion in the fifth and sixth national development plans.
He pointed out that through collaboration, stakeholders can help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice sector in the country.