Govt. organs urged to work together to ensure justice for all

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  Kitwe High Court Judge Judy Mulongoti has advised all government organs to work together to ensure social, economic and political justice for all citizens in the country.


Judge Mulongoti said administering and delivering timely justice to millions of people in the country at an affordable cost is becoming a difficult task.


She said at present the task has become even more complex, specialized and challenging as the country continues to develop economically, politically and socially.


ZANIS reports from Solwezi that the Judge said this during the ceremonial opening of the 2014 High Court criminal sessions in Solwezi, today.


The Kitwe based judge said that achieving the fight against crime which is a hallmark of a well established legal system cannot be borne by the judiciary alone.


She said in its quest to fight crime, the judiciary requires the involvement of other law enforcement institutions such as Director of Public Prosecution, the Directorate of Legal Aid Board, the Anti-Corruption Commission, Zambia Police Service, Prison Service Commission and other stakeholders.


She said although there have been calls for judicial reforms to address some of the challenges such as delays in delivery of judgments and trial delays, the problem cannot also be blamed on the judiciary alone.


She said it is for this that she finds it heartening that calls judicial legal reforms to encompass the judiciary and all other stakeholders involved in the justice system.


And Judge Mulongoti said the judiciary has a direct role to play in the mammoth task of delivering justice by ensuring that citizens enjoy their fundamental rights, including right to life and liberty.


She said in response to calls for reform, the judiciary has taken some steps that have included computerization of some court rooms, recruitment of research advocates and real time court reporters.


She said there are also measures in place to ensure judges complete all criminal cases on a cause list for a particular session within that sitting period.


Judge Mulongoti, who will be sitting in Solwezi for the next two to three weeks, bemoaned the inadequate court infrastructure in North Western province, inadequate transport and funding.


The Judge said that prisons are supposed to be places of reformation and rehabilitation, but said these are difficult to achieve in the circumstances of congestion, poor sanitation and diet in prisons raised by inmates whenever visited by judges.


She hoped that the opening of the Mwembeshi Prison will help reduce the problem of congestion in some prisons, adding that there is still need to build more of such facilities.


The judge has suggested for authorities to consider involving private investment in running of prisons.


“Perhaps it is worthwhile to consider private investment in the running of prisons as is the case in some states (like in the United States of America),” she said.


Officiating at the ceremonial opening of the criminal sessions, North Western provincial minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu said the Patriotic Government has made issues of justice and good governance a matter of priority because they are important to the wellbeing of the people.


Mr Mubukwanu said government is carrying out several reforms to enhance the delivery of justice, adding that efficient and effective administration of justice and the fight against crime are important hallmarks of justice.


He said under the reforms, government will establish the office of the public defender, deploying of law graduates to legal positions in the judiciary, and recognizing of the traditional courts under traditional rulers as first level courts.


The minister also disclosed that government is in the process of introducing appropriate legislation that will enable Zambians to have access to the African Commission on Human Rights by way of appeal on decisions concerning human rights.


Mr Mubukwanu said Slowezi is developing fast, which has also triggered various social challenges including various kinds of crime.