MAJAZ opposes Judicial Service Commission Act amendment


THE Magistrates and Judges Association of Zambia (MAJAZ) has strongly opposed the proposed amendment to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Act which seeks to remove the Chief Justice as chairperson  of the commission.
MAJAZ president Collins Lundah who throughout the session spoke with passion said some of the judicial reforms being proposed are bad and will only create problems.
Mr Lundah was speaking yesterday when he appeared before the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, governance, human rights, gender matters and child affairs.
“The position of the general membership of the association is that the serving Chief Justice should be retained to chair the JSC meetings,” Mr Lundah said.
He said the Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary and therefore gives policy direction to the institution.
When reminded by the committee chairperson Jack Mwiimbu that chairpersons for other commissions such as Police and Prisons, and the Local Government Service do not come from the respective institutions, Mr Lundah said: “The judiciary is an arm of the government. It is independent, unlike other institutions which are under the executive.”
He said even lawyers do not understand the challenges of the judiciary.
“Everyone including the police are talking about reforms in the judiciary instead of focusing on their institutions. But even parliament needs reforms!”
However, Mr Mwiimbu reminded Mr Lundah that the subject at hand was the judiciary.
And one committee member, Michael Kaingu, wondered why election petitions take so long when the stipulated period in the law is 180 days.
“There are people who are paying lawyers beyond K1 million because of the duration the cases take to dispose of,” Mr Kaingu said.
But Mr Lundah fervently defended the judiciary,  saying there are a lot of factors that come into play.
“Justice hurried is justice buried. I can assure you that these delays have nothing to do with the judiciary,” he said.