His excellency, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, president of the republic of Zambia, during the swearing-in ceremony for judges of the supreme court, constitutional court and court of appeal.
Thursday, 15th April, 2021
I wish to begin by congratulating each one of you, honorable judges on your individual appointments to serve as judges and the subsequent ratification by parliament.
- Mrs justice Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga judge – supreme court
- Mr. Justice Mwila Chitabo, SC judge – constitutional court
- Mr. Justice Mathew Kasonde Chisunka judge – constitutional court
- Mrs. Justice Judy Zulu Mulongoti judge – constitutional court
- Mrs. Justice Anessie Michael Banda-bobo judge – court of appeal
- Mrs justice Nicola Ann Sharpe-Phiri judge of the court of appeal
- Kelvin Muzenga judge – court of appeal
I am glad that the appointments to these courts are fair in gender balancing. This is a clear demonstration that my government recognises the positive contributions that women in the judiciary are making in the dispensation of justice.
With this progressive milestone, i urge you all not to lose sight of the fact that the positions you have been appointed to are not only of great honour, but also come with immense responsibility and high expectations from members of the public.
The role of the judiciary, particularly, this year when our country is going to the general elections on 12th august, will be critical as most political players and other stakeholders will seek different forms of court relief. This, therefore, calls for you members of the bench to exercise impartiality and high levels of integrity in the discharge of your duties.
I am confident that your individual diverse experiences in the administration of justice in your previous capacities in the judiciary will be invaluable as you take up your respective new roles.
I am aware that in terms of its composition, the constitutional court is supposed to have thirteen judges. On the other hand, the court of appeal has an establishment of nineteen judges.
You may wish to know that the constitutional court from its inception in 2016 has had seven judges. However, the number reduced to six following the untimely death of the hon. Mr justice Enock Mulembe in December, 2020.
Therefore, the new appointment of three constitutional judges translates to an increase to nine judges of the constitutional court.
On the other hand, the court of appeal has been operating with twelve judges. Following the appointment of two judges of the court of appeal to the supreme court and constitutional court, respectively, there will be ten judges of the court of appeal. However, the appointment of three judges of the court of appeal will increase the number from ten to thirteen.
I wish to assure the judiciary that my government is committed to ensuring that the establishment of the constitutional court and court of appeal is filled to optimum levels. The appointments of judges to the two courts is evidence of this commitment.
I am aware that the judiciary’s commendable efforts to deliver timely and efficient justice will only bear fruit when challenges facing the institution are addressed. These challenges include insufficient space to accommodate judges and support staff and provision of official transport for judges of the superior courts.
To this effect, my government will soon undertake a robust construction of court infrastructure to address the critical challenge of inadequate space faced by the judiciary.
My government is further addressing funding to the judiciary to meet judges’ entitlements as provided for under the law.
As i conclude, i call upon you all to continue reflecting on the expectations of the people of Gambia from the judiciary. The people of Zambia expect that you will disharge your duties with unparalleled high levels of professionalism inspired by the principals of judicial authority provided for in article 118 (2) of the Zambian constitution.
Once again may i take this opportunity to congratulate each one of you on your well-deserved appointments to your new positions in the supreme court, constitutional court and court of appeal.
I wish you well, and god’s guidance in the discharge of your duties.
I thank you.