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Malila’s appointment well deserved, says Centre for Human Rights

THE University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights has praised President Hakainde Hichilema over his appointment of Supreme Court judge Mumba Malila as the country’s Chief Justice.

On November 17, President Hichilema appointed Dr Malila, State Counsel, to take up the vacant position left by justice Irene Mambilima who died on June 20, 2021.

“The Centre congratulates and wishes Chief Justice Malila well in this important role. His considerable legal and human rights experience at the domestic, regional and international level will no doubt serve him very well in his role as leader of the judiciary in Zambia,” said Centre director Frans Viljoen. “As members of the Judicial Service Commission and political parties in South Africa consider the appointment of the next Chief Justice of South Africa, the Centre calls on them and President [Cyril] Ramaphosa to take into account the human rights credentials, intellectual depth, respect for rule of law and judicial independence of the candidates.”

The Centre has viewed Dr Malila’s appointment as a deserved recognition of his commitment to human rights, rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

The Centre has also commended the Judicial Service Commission for recommending Dr Malila’s appointment on November 12.

Justice Malila is a consummate legal expert and notable Zambian appellate court judge and author.

His more obvious endowments are the ability to multitask and the capacity to work under pressure.

He has served in the Supreme Court of Zambia since 2014.

While holding this position he served as chairperson of the editorial board of the Zambia Law Reports (2014 -2016).

He also chaired the committee tasked to oprationalise the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court and has presided over several ad hoc committees appointed to draft the Chief Justice’s Rules under various pieces of legislation.

Dr Malila has since 2016 been the chairperson of the Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee on Court Operations.

Admitted to practice as a lawyer in Zambia in 1989, Dr Malila took silk as State Counsel (equivalent of Queen’s Counsel) in 2006.

His extensive working experience and achievements exudes tested professional leadership and transcends national, regional and international legal environments.

Dr Malila’s civil society experience includes his vice-chairmanship of the Human Rights Association of Zambia, council membership of the Law Association of Zambia; honorary secretaryship of the Law Association of Zambia and executive committee membership of the SADC Lawyers’ Association.

He also served as a board member of Women and Law in Southern Africa.

At national level, Dr Malila blended legal practice and academia, serving with distinction in various private sector positions in the legal profession including those of a private legal practitioner, corporation counsel and company secretary.

He was also a University of Zambia Law lecturer, assessor and lecturer at the Law Practice Institute, now the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education(ZIALE), and at the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS).

While at the University of Zambia, Dr Malila held, among other responsibilities, the positions of Assistant Dean (postgraduate), Assistant Dean (undergraduate),and chairperson of the Students Board of Discipline.

He garnered considerable public sector experience having once served as chairperson of the Zambian Human Rights Commission and having for many years, been a member of several public bodies including the Judicial Service Commission, the Law Development Commission, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission, the Public Procurement Authority, the Council of Law Reporting and the Zambia Railways Board.

Dr Malila has the rare distinction of having twice served as Attorney General of Zambia and ex-officio member of the Zambian Cabinet under three presidents.

As the country’s chief legal adviser, he was the competent authority in Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, chairperson of the ZIALE council, chairperson of the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee and chairperson of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority in the Drug Enforcement Commission.

In his African regional human rights work, Dr Malila was elected to serve as an expert on the premier human rights body of the African Union – the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for six years; the last two of which he was elected as the Commission’s vice-chairperson. While serving as a commissioner on the African Commission, Dr Malila held the positions of chairperson of the Working Group on Extractive Industries and Human Rights Violations in Africa, Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa, member of the Working Groups on the Death Penalty in Africa and on Indigenous Peoples and Populations in Africa.

He was a founder member of the African Commission’s Committee on the Rights of Persons Living with HIV in Africa.

At the global level, Dr Malila was elected in October 2020 as an independent expert by the United Nations Human Rights Council and appointed as a member of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a position he still holds on part time basis.

Dr Malila is a Cambridge Livingstone ODA Scholar.

He holds an LLB degree from the University of Zambia, an LLM degree from the University of Cambridge, an LLM degree from the University of Cumbria and an LLD degree from the University of Pretoria.

Dr Malila obtained a post graduate Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London).

He earned his Certificate in Human Rights from the René Cassin Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg, France).

Dr Malila is a certified court annexed mediator, an ADR Centre accredited mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society.

He has taught Constitutional Law and Human Rights Law to post graduate (LLM) students at the University of Lusaka on part time basis since 2018.

Dr Malila has been the chairperson of the board of trustees of the United Church of Zambia since 2016.

In his work, Dr Malila has won multiple awards including the Kwamena Bentsi-Enchill Memorial Prize for the best third year student in Law School at the University of Zambia (1986), the Law Association of Zambia Prize for the best student in Jurisprudence (1987), the Transparency International Zambia Recognition Award in the fight against corruption (2010), and the Human Rights Commission of Zambia Award in recognition of his contribution to human rights work in Zambia and in the African region (2019). He is an honorary life member of the Lions Club of Fairview.

Dr Malila has authored numerous books including ‘The Contours of a Developing Jurisprudence of the Zambian Supreme Court (2019); The Law of Business Associations in Zambia (2019); Imperfect Ruminations Rooted in Hope (2016); Contract Law in Zambia (2008); Commercial Law in Zambia: Cases and Materials (2006), and Commercial Law in Zambia: Essential Texts (2005)’.

He has contributed several book chapters and is author of numerous articles in peer reviewed journals.

On the social front, Dr Malila is not a teetotaller and is passionate about part time livestock farming, occasional golfing, and cycling.

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