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Zambian president, Hichilema, vows Executive support for Judiciary, calls for responsive courts system

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Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema has called for a responsive and accountable judiciary for an effective justice system.

The president made the call while speaking during the official opening of the judicial conference Livingstone.

He maintained that the Executive arm of Government remains committed to continuing support for the decentralisation process in the Judiciary and making it easily accessible to our citizens in rural communities.

“We appreciated the open and candid exchange of ideas aimed at strengthening the delivery of justice to our citizens, in a timely manner and within the enhanced rule of law coupled with transparency and accountability.

“There is a need for a collaborative approach with all concerned parties, in identifying the impediments to the speedy delivery of justice, by isolating oppressive and archaic laws in our statutes that need repealing, in order that they are in concert and relevant to modern times, so that ambiguities in the delivery of judgments are avoided at all costs.

“To us, the three arms of Government are triplets that should work in close liason, in improving the welfare of our citizens. The Judiciary should equally take a keen interest in economic matters and also ensure that public resources are used prudently, so as to improve their working conditions at all levels,” he said.

The Zambian judicial system comprises approximately 460 courts, arrayed, basically, in a hierarchy with four primary levels. At the base, stand 415 local courts, presided over by 8 senior presiding justices, and 407 presiding justices, assisted by 428 ordinary justices.

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South African judge, Piet Koen, to ‘rescue’ self from ex-president Jacob Zuma case

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The trial judge in the corruption case of former South African President Jacob Zuma has announced at a hearing that he would recuse himself from the case.

Judge Piet Koen, in the Pietermaritzburg court (southeast) during a televised hearing said “I have come to the conclusion that I must recuse myself from the trial. This is what the proper administration of justice, the Constitution, and my conscience dictates.”

In July 2021, the former President was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after repeatedly ignoring a court order to testify at a government inquiry into large-scale corruption during his tenure as president.

Mr. Zuma has been lobbying for the recusal of the chief prosecutor in the trial, Billy Downer, whom he accuses of bias. Last year, Judge Koen rejected this request.

“If Justice Koen does not continue the trial, a new judge will have to sit,” Cathy Powell, a constitutional scholar at the University of Cape Town, told AFP. The trial would then have to “start from the beginning”, the lawyer fears.

Zuma’s corruption trial began in May 2021, with numerous with the 80-year-old politician accused of taking bribes from the French defense group Thales in a case that dates back more than 20 years ago.

He has been charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering. Thales is also charged with corruption and money laundering.

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Tunisian opposition coalition wants united front to challenge President Saied sit-tight reign

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The opposition coalition in North African country, Tunisia is calling for a united front to challenge President Kais Saied’s sit-tight reign in the country.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the National Salvation Front, said “I call on all those who are part of the political movement and those who are in the civil movement to rise to this new challenge (ahead of us). Let’s join hands to work for change, in the form of Kais Saied’s departure.”

“Almost 90 percent, or rather 89 percent, of Tunisian voters, ignored this farce and refused to be involved in this coup d’état scenario that does not represent them at all,” he exclaimed.

Again voter turnout was low at the second round of the just concluded parliamentary in Tunisia with just 11.3 percent of voters have taken part in the poll. Official initial results after voting ended in Tunisia, Sunday (Jan. 29).

The electoral board chief Farouk Bouasker said 887,638 out of more than 7.8 million registered voters had taken part in the poll, which followed December’s widely boycotted first round.

According to the electoral board’s initial figures, just five percent of those who voted were aged under 26, and more than two-thirds were men.

Voter turnout for the first round of the parliamentary elections in December was only 11%, prompting widespread ridicule among Saied’s opponents and new demands by the powerful labour union that he changes tack.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021.

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