Is justice for all?
One could be excused for thinking that the wheels of the judiciary in Zambia have ground to a complete halt. Otherwise it is difficult to explain one of this week’s rulings concerning alleged corruption committed in 1998 – almost 20 years ago! The accused were found ‘guilty’ by the Magistrates’ Court in 2008, and have now been found ‘not guilty’ by the High Court, and who knows what the Supreme Court will decide many years from now. The problem is that the case is political, involving some of the late President Chiluba’s cronies, and the judiciary is unfortunately still influenced by political considerations. If you know the right people, your court case can allegedly slow down to a crawl, or miraculously disappear altogether through nolle prosequis. In the meantime, we have thousands of – less connected – inmates lingering behind bars for years without trial. One may well ask whether justice exists in Zambia?
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly