—Kitwe High Court Judge – in – Charge, Catherine Makungu, has disclosed that poor funding to the judiciary has hampered the smooth operations of the judicial department in Kitwe.
Judge Makungu said the poor funding has resulted in the failure by the court administration to purchase essential office stationary and payment of house rentals for magistrates.
She said recently two magistrates were evicted from their houses for non-payment of rentals by the court administration.
She added that the court has also failed to complete the court computerisation programme due to lack of funds.
Speaking in Kitwe today when the Parliamentary Committee on legal affairs toured the Kitwe High Court, Ms Makungu said the court infrastructure was insufficient and dilapidated.
Judge Makungu further told the committee that the court was also understaffed, had insufficient court rooms and lacked arbitration and cases mediation rooms which is currently done from outside.
And Judge Makungu appealed for the allowance of magistrates to sentence suspects they convict on Gender Based Violence cases to speed up the disposal of GBV related cases and curb the vice in the country.
She was responding to a question from Monze Central Member of Parliament, Jack Mwiimbu, who wanted to know the best way of handling GBV cases which he observed that were taking too long to be disposed of.
And Kitwe Chief Resident Magistrate, David Mumba, has called on government to start paying magistrates housing allowances for them to paying their house rentals instead of government taking the responsibility to avoid the embarrassment of being evicted in times when funds come late.
Mr Mumba also appealed for the staffing of the Social Welfare department and provision of transport to the depart as it was key to the prosecution of juvenile cases.
He said currently the department was understaffed and had no transport thereby delaying the disposal of juvenile cases.
The Parliamentary Committee was today in Kitwe to get information on the operational challenges of the judiciary.
The Committee comprised of Monze Central Member of Parliament, Jack Mwiimbu, Mwandi MP Michael Kaingu, Lufwanyama MP, Annie Chungu, Mushili Malama, MP, for Chitambo and Kabwe Central MP James Kapyanga.
Others are Gwembe MP, Brian Ntundu, Sydney Mushanga, Bwacha MP and Kaputa MP Maxas Ng’onga.