(By Isaac Zulu in Kabwe)
UPND Central Province chairman Albert Chifita has called for judicial and electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 general elections. Chifita observed that Constitutional Court judges should not be appointed by the Republican President but that they should be made to apply and subjected to aptitude tests and interviews by a panel of legal experts and eminent people in society.
“The current situation where the judges’ ascendancy to the Constitutional Court is a preserve of the Republican President leaves much to be desired because these judges tend to pay allegiance to the appointing authority. It would be ideal to have judges apply for these positions and let them be tested and interviewed by a panel of legal experts and eminent people in society. That way they will be able to discharge their duties with impartiality,” Chifita said. “And that is why we are saying that there’s need to have judicial reforms before the 2021 general elections. Legal reforms have been done in Kenya and Ghana. And there’s no harm in Zambia following suit.”
And Chifita said electoral reforms were required in Zambia in order to guarantee a level playing field for all political players in the 2021 elections.
“There are so many issues that we need to address when it comes to electoral rules in our country. We need to amend the Public Order Act and other laws that govern the way political activities are conducted in this country. We have noticed that the way police officers apply the Public Order Act tends to favour the ruling party. So going forward, we need to have electoral reforms ahead of the 2021 general elections in order to ensure that there’s a level playing field for all political players,” Chifita said.
Chifita expressed optimism that the much anticipated national dialogue would address pertinent political issues and ensure that free and fair elections are held in future.