Local courts should be decentralized – Petitioner

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Local courts should be decentralized – Petitioner

Chipata, November 19, ZANIS–A petitioner has submitted to the Legal and Justice Reforms Commission sitting in Chipata that the Industrial Relations and Local courts should be decentralized to provincial and ward levels respectively.

Mr Rabson Lungu, 63 of house number 46 Kalongola township in Chipata said a lot of people in rural areas are denied access to justice because of the absence of these two judicial offices in areas.

Mr Lungu told the Justice Fredrick Chomba led Commission on day two of its public sittings in Chipata that the reforms in the legal and justice sector should be expedited to benefit the poor people in rural areas.

"The industrial relations court is only found in Lusaka and Ndola while local courts are just at the provincial and district levels therefore denying most rural people access to justice," he submitted.

And Mr Lungu also submitted that the high court’s need restructuring because currently they were taking long to dispose cases as they were understaffed.

He also petitioned that a board of retired judges should be set-up to appoint high court judges who should be ratified by the judicial service commission so that they operate independently as opposed to being appointed by the president.

But Commissioner Ernest Beele clarified that article 95 specifies that the judicial service commission advises the president on the appointment of judges to the high court who are later ratified by parliament.

Another petitioner, Michael Chuzu, 58 of Kapata township in Chipata submitted that the Zambia Police Service does not seem to understand the interpretation of the Public Order Act claiming that ordinary citizens were intimidated by officers in the application of the act.

Mr Chuzu said while it was important to retain the public order act, the police service should not exaggerate its application especially on public gatherings of a political nature such as rallies.

And Mr. Chuzu also submitted that the government should not be involved in the appointment of chiefs but merely give guidelines where a dispute arises.

The commission resumed its public sittings on Monday and has so far sat in Lundazi and Chipata before proceeding to Katete and Petauke tomorrow and Friday.


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