The Civil Society Constitution Agenda says it is extremely shocked at the summons for contempt served against its Chairperson, Bishop John Mambo from Chief Justice Irene Mambilima.
Bishop Mambo is on Tuesday expected to appear before after he accused judges of placing personal ambitions before justice.
Bishop Mambo is being summoned as chairperson of Chikondi Trust Foundation
In a letter addressed to him, the Supreme Court commanded him to appear before court on July 17 2018 to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt of court.
“You are hereby commanded in the name of the president to appear before this court at 09:00 on May 17 2018 and on every adjournment of the court until the matter is disposed of to show why you should not be cited for contempt of court,” the letter read.
It is alleged that on May 12 2018, Bishop Mambo wrote a letter to Chief justice Irene Mambilima which was also copied to the Judicial Complaints Commission.
The letter was in relation to an appeal in a case between Savenda Management Services Limited vs Stanbic Bank Zambia limited.
The contemptuous words were “the legal suit against the bank by Savenda, though given a favourable judicial decisions at the lower court, was suspiciously overturned by the higher court on appeal. Most judges seem to be more interested in achieving personal ambitions at the expense of justice for all and equality before the law. ”
But CiSCA says the move to summon Bishop Mambo is unconstitutional.
“Regardless of the circumstances surrounding this summon, CiSCA understands that Bishop Mambo merely wrote a complaint letter against some judges to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), and served a copy on the Chief Justice, Irene Mambilima and Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) on a case already disposed of by the courts,” it said in a statement.
“Instead of summons for contempt, Bishop Mambo expected a response to the letter seeking the Chief Justice’s indulgence on the alleged unsatisfactory manner her officers are discharging their duties. CiSCA is aware that Article 118 of the Republican Constitution provides an avenue for the judiciary to be accountable to the people and surprisingly, exercising one’s constitutional right has amounted to contempt of court.”
It added, “Further, in line with the constitutional mandate, under Article 236, given to any other citizen to question the work of judges by lodging a complaint to the Judicial Complaint Commission (JCC) as the judiciary is accountable not only to itself but to the citizens of Zambia, of which Bishop Mambo is bonafide member and was exercising his rights as provided for in the constitution.”
CiSCA said it is therefore extremely surprised that instead of a tribunal or a probe being set against those judges in question, Bishop Mambo is being cited for contempt for calling for their probe.
“This is unconstitutional and CiSCA will keenly follow this case to its logical conclusion and also see whether a constitutional breach is not about to be committed by the Chief Justice,” it stated.