Mongu residents seek differentiation between local and traditional courts

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———–A petitioner of Kaoma has submitted to the Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission that the law must provide a clear distinction on the jurisdictions of traditional and local courts.

Lubasi Kakenenwa, 50, of Boma area in Kaoma, said there is a lot of conflict of interest between the two courts in the handling of cases because there is no clear separation of their individual limits in terms of what cases to be handled.

Mr Kakenenwa, who is also the District Local Courts Officer, also recommended that traditional courts should not be part of the judiciary because they are not courts of record.

"Currently there is a conflict between traditional and local courts especially here in the Western province where chiefs consider their courts superior," said Mr Kakenenwa.

Mr Kakenenwa further submitted that local courts deal with a lot of issues extending to interpretation of complex laws such as the Marriage Act and should not be equalled to traditional courts as this would give room to unpopular customary law presided over by chiefs’ indunas with limited legal knowledge.

He also submitted that court infrastructure in the district was poor and understaffed, adding that out of 84, 20 have been closed due to lack of staff while some have not heard cases in over a decade due to operational difficulties.

Another petitioner, Mubita Musiwa, submitted that the Magistrates’ courts in the district are overwhelmed with work as officers handle both court cases and administrative work.

Mr Musiwa, 50, of Boma area, recommended that the Magistrates’ officers must be left to concentrate on court cases while a position must be created for someone else to be in charge of administration to avoid delays in processing cases.

"We must have a management structure like that of the police where the Officer-In-Charge is the overall administrator," said Mr Musiwa.

The Justice Fredrick Chomba-led commission is this morning sitting at the council chamber in Kaoma to wind-up its Western province public hearings which begun on Monday in Mongu and Senanga.


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