Are judges being cherry-picked to hear PF cases?- Sishuwa Sishuwa

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SISHUWA

Are judges being cherry-picked to hear PF cases?

By Sishuwa Sishuwa

Why are all the court cases – three in the Lusaka High Court, one in the Constitutional Court – involving the State-supported Miles Sampa versus the main opposition Patriotic Front only given to Lozi-speaking judges?

The first case was allocated to Timothy Katanekwa – a Lozi speaker. The second case was allocated to Situmbeko Chocho – a Lozi speaker. The third one, which is before the Constitutional Court, was allocated to Kenneth Mulife – a Lozi speaker. The most recent case concerning 7 PF members (and presidential hopefuls) who have petitioned the legality of the convention that elected Sampa to the party leadership, has been allocated to Sililo Siloka – a Lozi. Is this a coincidence or it is all planned? What is it that Lozi-speaking judges have that judges from other ethnic groups do not have? What makes, say, Bemba-speaking judges or those hailing from Eastern Province unqualified to hear and determine matters involving the PF versus Miles Sampa?

In addition to a shared province of origin and ethnic-language identity, three of the four judges handling PF cases – that is Situmbeko, Mulife, and Sililo – were all appointed to their current roles by President Hakainde Hichilema in 2023. The only exception is justice Katanekwa who was appointed High Court judge by Frederick Chiluba in 1996 but was just recently suspended from his position by Hichilema. If the argument is that the trio has a rather limited case load, why is it that judges from the other ethnic groups who were appointed alongside them are being overlooked for these general cases? Is there a fear that judges hailing from the Eastern and Bemba-speaking provinces cannot be trusted to hear and determine PF matters in an impartial manner? If there is none, then how best should we understand the fact that it is only Lozi-speaking judges who are being asked to deliberate on PF matters?

And given the gravity of the outcome of the cases to the fate of Zambia’s democracy and party system, especially the case given to Sililo, what explains the failure by Lusaka High Court Judge-in-Charge for general allocations, Charles Zulu, to assign these cases to a diverse set of experienced judges (– and there are many justices available from different ethnic groups!)? Similarly, why did Mweetwa Shilimi – another Hichilema appointee who was simultaneously promoted as Deputy President of the Constitutional Court, the official responsible for case allocation – overlook all the experienced judges on the Concourt bench for the recently appointed justice Mulife?

Are judges from the ‘Zambezi region’ – where the President comes from – seen as more likely than those from a different region to make decisions that would favour President Hichilema, who, as I have previously shown in the article below, appears to be the driving force behind Miles Sampa and the PF leadership wrangles? If they are not seen this way, then how best should we understand the continued allocation of cases involving Sampa and the PF to relatively inexperienced judges who have only been in their positions a matter of months.

18 COMMENTS

  1. This is an indication that we have lost it as a nation when everything is viewed with a tribal lens. Grow up, a judge knows no tribe by definition. Judges are impartiAl and stop assigning the tribal drivel on them. You build a nation by looking at who can do the job best and in this case all those examples qualify and by virtue of being judges there is no partiality. You fished a dry one on this one and stop it here! Find another discussion on judges and not tribe and if that is all you have, then keep quiet!!

  2. Really? You’re blessed Zambia still has talent like this young man. Only logic and not the nonsense you reason with, drives Shishi.
    My country, primitive and as unjust as it was, should have decolonised your minds as well.Apologies.

  3. Sishuwa,why don’t you also make a claim on our Zambian national football team players which comprises of mainly one region. It’s childish for citizens to focus on petty issues instead of finding solutions to our problems.Let the learned sishuwa also have a look at the PF presidential candidates who wanted seek PF presidency.Does it mean that PF is for our colleagues belongs to Muchinga and northern provinces? This is the question needs more answers than questions.

    • I think this pf presidential candidates example is not a good example for this senerio. Were the candidates chosen by anybody? Anybody from any region was free to contest the pf presidency. Let’s not be one sided on this observation by Shishuwa. Shishuwa’s observation needs a systematic reflection by who ever is responsible in choosing judges to preside on sensitive matters like this one though it might have been only by coincidence.

  4. Yes there seems to be cherry picking of Judges hearing PF cases. Judge Chocho Situmbeko, Judge Katenekwa ….and now Judge Siloka.mmmh you think you can fool a Corleone???
    And Judge Sililo Siloka was just appointed as High Court Judge less than 6 months ago by Hakainde..and here he is , being given a PF case were 7 PF Presidential Candidates are suing Miles Sampa over that illegal UPND cum PF Conference.
    We will see how this Judge will handle the case.. Even in a banana Republic Miles Sampa can’t win this case! Unless we have become worse than a banana Republic.

  5. Yes there seems to be real cherry picking of Judges hearing PF cases. Judge Chocho Situmbeko, Judge Katenekwa ….and now Judge Siloka.mmmh you think you can fool a Corleone???
    And Judge Sililo Siloka was just appointed as High Court Judge less than 6 months ago by Hakainde..and here he is , being given a PF case were 7 PF Presidential Candidates are suing Miles Sampa over that illegal UPND cum PF Conference.
    We will see how this Judge will handle the case.. Even in a banana Republic Miles Sampa can’t win this case! Unless we have become worse than a banana Republic.

  6. Judge Geoffrey Mulenga heard a matter concerning the PF as far as I can recollect. Sishuwa Sishuwa of course doesn’t want to remember it because it is against the narrative he wants to spread around.

  7. This a very premitive way of looking at issues. Is young educated Zambians can think like this then the future of our country is gloomy and doomed.

  8. Amano yamu sukulu ba sishula yekayeka fye. We should now say if you are Bisa you need a Bisa judge and a Kaonde also a Kaonde judge. Do see how ridiculous this sounds? That how some PhDs have in their louse brains. By the way a PhD is not a measure of intelligence but a confirmation that one qualifies to do independent research (for those who may not know). It has nothing to do with wisdom. No wisdom in this article- kusabaila fye.

  9. Assuming these Lozi Judges rule in favour of PF, how will these Chameleons and slime Salamanders now change the Narrative?

  10. Ati you are named SURE SURE. It’s written all over. You are green with envy and yellow with jealousy. Fella has tried a countless number of times begging for a plumb job, it has not happened. Boi continue growing ubupipi for beards. You do not even look at yourself in the mirror. Pfool sympathiser

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