—The Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission today faced a tough task of guiding residents of Garden Compound in Lusaka who wanted the commission to review their individual cases that have either been disposed of by the courts or were still dragging in the courts of law.
Instead of making recommendations to the commission on how to transform the country’s legal and justice sector, residents of Garden compound, most of who were seemingly angry, brought up cases in which they were alleging that they had been mistreated either by law enforcement agencies or by the courts of law.
In separate misplaced submissions to the commission, the residents complained of many issues ranging from landlords evictions, Zesco power load shedding, magistrate and local courts justice corruptions to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) not taking their complaints seriously.
Commission Chairperson, Frederick Chomba, repeatedly reminded the residents that the commission was not set up to conduct trials on individual cases but to undertake a comprehensive public inquiry into the state of the legal and justice sector in Zambia and to recommend appropriate reforms that will ensure a more efficient, affordable, accessible accountable and responsive legal and justice sector.
Justice Chomba stated that the commission is expecting the public to submit their views in line with the terms of reference given to the commission.
The chairperson referred some of the complainants who presented their cases back to the courts to appeal while those that claimed to lack legal representation were referred to the Legal Aid Board for
Among the petitioners who appeared before the commission were Ernest Kamanga who asked the commission to take up the case because it had taken too long in courts and Rastod Tembo who asked the commission to resolve the land disputed with his neighbour, a case he said the local
court justices made him lose because he refused to bribe them and instead reported to the ACC who refused to attend to him.
Emson Mwale also complained of continued load shedding by Zesco in Garden Compound compared to other townships enjoyed power throughout the day and night without interruption.
Meanwhile a volunteer Paralegal Officer working the Zambia Civic Education Association has submitted that government should take up the role of providing shelter for children whose parents have been displaced or evicted by the landlords or land owners.
Ketu Imakando, a resident of Kabwata Township, told the commission that children’s rights in the compounds she operates from are violated everyday due to evictions that leave children in the cold while others are denied their rights to education.
Ms Imakando explained that children of squatters who are displace or children from families that have been evicted by their landlords for failure to settle rentals should be given shelter by government.
She suggested that landlords should also be stopped by government to evict defaulting tenants who have small children to avoid violating children’s rights.
But Director of Public Prosecutions, Mutembo Nchito, observed that such action would encourage tenants from paying rentals and in the process disadvantage landlords who have their rights to their property.
Mr Nchito noted that people should not claim their rights at the expense of other people’s rights hence the need to encourage tenants to avoid defaulting in payments of rentals.