The way the Supreme Court is handling these contempt of court proceedings is really embarrassing.
The Supreme Court is carried away with the protection of its image and is ignoring the law.
It is difficult to understand why the Supreme Court is treating these contempt of court cases as if they were committed in the face of the court. None of these contempt of court cases was committed in the face of the court. As such none of these proceedings should have taken place without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
What the Supreme Court judges should have done is complain to the police and allow the Director of Public Prosecutions to handle the matter.
Why did the Supreme Court rush to treat these cases as if contempt of court was committed in the face of the court? They were in a hurry to avenge, punish those who had offended them. They were blinded by pride and anger. Yes, it is annoying to be falsely accused in such a reckless way. But still the law has to be followed. The Supreme Court had no right to take the law into its own hands. This behaviour of the Supreme Court actually amounts to lawlessness. They are abusing their very powerful positions as Supreme Court judges to break the law and pass illegal judgments.
The very long sentences they are handing out to people who have offended them are illegal. They are not permissible under the contempt of court Act. The maximum sentence under this Act is six months.
The Supreme Court had been using the White Book rules to try and sentence these people. This is wrong. These British rules are used only where we don’t have a direct law. But here we have the contempt of court Act. Why are they ignoring it? Is it deliberate so that they can directly hand out cruel and long sentences to the people who have offended them?
Unfortunately, for these people, even the Law Association of Zambia is supporting this illegality, abuse and lawlessness by the Supreme Court judges.
And this is the highest court in the land! And these people have nowhere to appeal. If the Law Association of Zambia was objective, it would be engaging the President to seek presidential pardons for these people.
We are warned in Sirach 21:3: “All lawlessness is a two-edged sword, and there’s no healing for its wound.”
We urge the Supreme Court to mull over things and consider the position of the law. There is need for our Supreme Court judges to be honest, courageous and accept that they are wrong and take corrective action.
We are products of the decisions – wrong or right – we make, but we don’t have to be prisoners of them. When mistakes are made and discovered, they must be corrected.
Wrong decisions are instructive. The person who really thinks, learns quite as much from mistakes as from correct decisions.
They say a teachable spirit and a humbleness to admit your mistakes or even ignorance will save you a lot of pain. However, if you are a person who knows it all, then you have got a lot of heavy-hearted experiences coming your way.
You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.
In saying all this, we are in no way implying that the Supreme Court judges were not offended, wronged, maligned. They were grossly and recklessly maligned. But the law has to be followed. Their grievances have to be addressed in the right way, in accordance with the law.
And our criticism of the Supreme Court judges over these matters should be seen in that spirit.
Criticism is part of learning and growth. It means that you are taking decisions or initiatives to learn something new and grow over from your current state. If you are not getting criticised, it means you are not taking enough risk to learn something new and to grow.