PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged the newly appointed High Court judges to carry out their functions independently and should never be swayed by outside influences.
During the swearing in ceremony for judges of the High Court yesterday, President Lungu said the positions were not only of great honour but also come with immense responsibility.
He said their first task was to address one of the biggest concerns by the public relating to delay in the disposal of court cases.
“I expect that with your appointments, which have substantially increased the number of High Court judges, will improve the time taken to dispose of cases. This therefore, calls for a lot of hard work from you honourable judges. You are also expected to deliver quality and fair justice,” he said. “As judges, you should carry out your functions independently and should never be swayed by outside influences. As the executive, we will continue to uphold and respect the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.”
President Lungu also noted that a good number of the judges were quite youthful.
He said the government was passionate about creating opportunities for the youths and building their capacity as they form the majority of the population.
“It is a constitutional requirement as prescribed in article 259, that appointments to public office should, among other things, take into account equitable representation of the youth, gender balance, and reflects the country’s regional diversity. Further, I am informed that of the 37 High Court judges, 21 are female and only 16 are male. The appointment of more male judges is meant to balance the numbers in the court,” he said.
“It is also worth noting that you are bringing a broad diversity of knowledge and experience to the bench as you have been drawn from the judicial service, the public service and the private sector. I have no doubt that this combination of knowledge and experience will enhance the speedy administration of justice.”
President Lungu said as umpires of justice, judges were expected to discharge their duties with independence, good judgment, competence and accountability.
“You should, at all times, bear in mind that judicial power and authority is derived from the people of Zambia,” said President Lungu.
Those sworn in are Evaristo Pengele, Koreen Etambuyu Mwenda – Zimba, Kenneth Mulife, Wilfred Godfrey Kopa Muma, Ruth Hachitapika Chibbabbuka, Abha Nayar Patel, Bonaventure Chakwawa Mbewe and Kazimbe Chenda.