Power and Politics

Petitioners ask court to quash all appointments of Judges made by Hichilema into constitutional court, others


Two citizens have challenged the process of recommending and appointing Judges of the Superior Courts by the Judicial Service Commission and the President for lacking in transparency and failing to accord adequate opportunities to all suitably qualified legal practitioners as required by the Constitution.

Governance activist Isaac Mwanza and Maurice Makalu stated in their petition that the Constitution and the law provide for recommendation for appointment and promotion of Judges on the basis of merit, adequate and equal opportunities for all suitably-qualified persons, conducted in accordance with a system that is fair, transparent, and competitive selection in filling of vacancies.

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“There is no known record of any recommendation that may have been made by the Judicial Service Commission on the appointments that were made nor the criteria that was used to arrive at the said names,” reads the petition.

The duo have also said no record exist that any advertisements was made by the Commission in respect of vacancies for positions of President of the Constitutional Court, Deputy President of the Constitutional Court, President of the Court of Appeal and Judges of the superior courts, or any record to indicate the criteria applied for recommending of the individuals selected for appointments by the President.

“There is no known record that the Judicial Service Commission offered all suitably-qualified legal practitioners an opportunity to be interviewed and assessed for possible recommendation and appointment by the President,” reads the petition

The petitioners are seeking the Court to declare that appointments of Judges must done on merit and using a transparent procedure that affords adequate opportunities for suitably qualified legal practitioners to apply, be assessed before being recommended to the President for appointment.

They have asked the Court to quash all appointments made by the President on 14th February, 2023 due to the flawed selection process that does not adhere to constitutional provisions of transparency, merit and provision of adequate opportunities in appointments and promotions.

The petitioners have also applied for an interim Injunction to preserve the status quo on the number of Judges in the superior courts until the final determination of the main matter.

Contributed by Augustine Sichula

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