Ex-soldier shocks Legal and Justice Sector Reform Commission with ordeal

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A Serenje ex-military officer today left the Legal and Justice Sector Reform Commission with mixed reaction after he narrated of how he suffered imprisonment on charges of defilement which led to the loss of all his financial resources but was later acquitted.

Major Nicholas Munthali of Serenje District in Central Province told the commission that because of negligence by the police and the
magistrate he was made to serve prison sentence for three years at Mukobeko Maximum Prison before the truth was established to warrant his acquittal.

He explained that during the process of proving his innocence in the courts of law he lost all what he worked for in the civil service due
to high legal fees.

Major Munthali sent the commission into laughter after he disclosed that the police believed the story of a young girl who was merely
dreaming of being defiled and arrested him which later went to court
without proper investigations.

He stated that it took him three years for the high court to prove that he was innocent and by then he had lost almost all his property.

He observed that the police do not investigate before arresting people, a situation he said has led to congestion in remand prisons and
delayed justice.

He also submitted that the local courts should be abolished in Zambia as they do not serve any purpose because they are not in consistence with other courts but a mere source for corruption for local court

He called on the judiciary to closely monitor the operations of the local courts and the prisons to ensure that corruption and
perpetuation of human rights violation is avoided.

Meanwhile, a Libala resident, George Silonda, has observed that justice is inaccessible to average Zambians because of the inadequate lawyers
in Zambia.

Mr Silondwa disclosed that his 2010 survey shows that the country has about 720 practicing lawyers which he said translate to one lawyer
serving over 16,000 people in Zambia which has over 13 million

He recommended that government should consider transforming the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) to an examination centre and
introduce many tuition schools in order to train more practicing lawyers.

He added that ZIALE should abolish the five year ban on students who fail exams three times so that people can be free to attempt ZIALE exams as
many times as they would wish.

He also recommended that the judiciary should put in place a time frame within which court cases should be concluded so the justice
should be delivered in time.