Judiciary’s silence on judge Nkonde won’t stop us from calling fro his dismissal, says Mulongoti
By Lulumbi Nakazwe
MIKE Mulongoti says the judiciary’s silence on judge Sunday Nkonde’s conduct will not stop Zambians from demanding for his dismissal.
And Mulongoti says journalist Dr Fred M’membe’s demands that judge Nkonde should not handle the Post liquidation matter were justified.
Dr M’membe has reported judge Nkonde to the Judicial Complaints Commission for alleged gross misconduct in The Post liquidation case before his court.
He earlier wrote to Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima and judge-in-charge of the commercial court that judge Nkonde stops presiding over the matter between Post Newspapers Limited and Andrew Chiwenda and others.
Featuring on Millennium Radio’s ‘The Interview’ on Monday, Mulongoti, the People’s Party president, said the judiciary should not expect judge Nkonde’s matter to resolve itself.
“I am calling upon the Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, My Lady, what is happening to you? We want to hear you. Assert yourself! You are in charge of the judiciary; don’t be silent! The people of Zambia are expecting you to come out and defend your people. Tell the Zambians which direction to take. They have taken the issue to the Judicial Complaints Commission. Now I don’t know which is which…the Judicial Complaints Commission does not employ judges. The judges have an employer who is silent. So what you are doing is that you are putting the Judicial Complaints Commission in a quagmire because at the end of the day, whatever decision will be made will affect the judiciary,” Mulongoti said.
He said Zambians expected the judiciary to come out and say something about their workers instead of keeping quiet.
“…What we know is that the people, who come to the judiciary to seek justice, need to be attended to. This thing of keeping quiet and expecting that matters will resolve themselves is not right. That is why the Constitution provides for the judicial system to help do arbitration, and clear matters as quickly as possible,” Mulongoti said.
He said it was unfair that LAZ was being expected to take over the responsibility of the judiciary.
“In the recent [past] there has been this view that the judiciary has failed the people of Zambia; when they were supposed to have made momentous decisions, they have chosen to keep quiet. Like the issue of judge Nkonde. The little management I studied very early in life taught me one thing: ‘Not to decide is another decision’,” Mulongoti said. “If you don’t decide, it’s a decision in itself. Now, judges are employed by the judiciary, so they have an employer and the employer has spokespersons. Why are they silent on that matter because they are also denying judge Nkonde justice. The complainant, Fred M’membe, is a loyal citizen who has raised an issue with the judge. Now look, this matter cannot die away. The way it looks, it’s like it will rage on for some time to come. It will take the authorities to be courageous and say from the judiciary, ‘this is what we are doing about it’. Just to keep quiet won’t help. We have seen people calling on the Law Association of Zambia. LAZ does not employ judges; it’s the Judicial Authority, which employs judges. Why can’t they come out and say something for their employee? Why are they silent? What are they saying to the public? This is why they are eroding the confidence of the public. If they think that he (Nkonde) is right, stand up and protect him; not just keeping quiet and thinking that the matter will die away, it will not.”
In his letter, Dr M’membe catalogued the several actions that he said were basis to have judge Nkonde removed from the Post case.
“Justice Nkonde approved a provisional liquidation and appointed a provisional liquidator ex-parte in a matter where the petitioners did not provide the mandatory statutory debt demand notice, that is required by law before a winding up petition can be filed,” Dr M’membe stated in part.
“Judge Nkonde Mr [Lewis] Mosho, the provisional liquidator he has appointed to then appoint his firm, Messrs Lewis Nathan Advocates (himself) and Messrs Palan & George Advocates to replace Messrs Nchito & Nchito in representing Post Newspapers Limited in challenging the liquidation. How can lawyers appointed by the provisional liquidator represent a company in company in challenging the same provisional liquidator? Not surprisingly, the syndicate of Mr Mosho and his fronts have withdrawn the company’s challenge to the liquidation with the tacit approval of the judge.”
He stated that Post Newspapers Limited was and remained a viable business capable of paying all its legitimate creditors.
“When the business is running, it averages K14 million in monthly turnover. The above facts show clearly that judge Nkonde is deliberately misconducting himself and humbly request that he be dealt with,” stated Dr M’membe.
And during the same programme, Mulongoti said the International Criminal Court issue must not be debated because it was the only institution that would stop the impunity of leaders in Africa who used the police and the army to brutalise innocent citizens.
“We want ICC to continue. There is a lot of impunity in African leadership. There is a lot of arrogance. HH [Hakainde Hichilema] made an announcement that 3,000 of his members are incarcerated in prisons in Zambians. Those are political prisoners. Honestly, with that kind of record, what are we saying to ourselves? Is that the independence we fought for? Is that the democracy we talk about?” he wondered.
Meanwhile, Mulongoti said President Lungu’s sentiments that he was not in a hurry to subject the country to another referendum was shocking.
“Whose money is he talking about? Are we talking about using his personal money or we are talking about using money for the Republic? Money for the Republic is intended to serve purposes of the Republic. The people who would want a referendum are people who want a right to water, a right to housing. Has he taken a census to establish whether people have lost interest in water? Here in Mtendere, Kalingalinga, they go without water for days. What can they do? If the Bill of Rights is enhanced, they can take the government or council to court,” he said.
Mulongoti said President Lungu was not the only one who wanted to be Head of State and that he should be sincere in his dealings.
“…When he contested, he contested using the old Constitution, now he wants to ignore the old Constitution and jump onto the new one because in there, he has found a lot of meat for his future. He should be sincere. You contest on this Constitution, stay with it. Let’s be faithful and true to the Constitution and to the Laws of Zambia,” said Mulongoti