Good Evening.

Questions have arisen over whether President Hakainde Hichilema ignored procedure in the manner he recently conferred five lawyers with the rank of State Counsel.

Those recognised were Jacob Jack Mwiimbu, Nelly Kashumba Mutti, Frances Mwangala Zaloumis, Arshad Abdullah Dudhia, and Mrs. Kondwa Emily Sakala Chibiya.

However, sources have disclosed that none of the five of them passed the interview process, except Jack Mwiimbu who only satisfied half the requirements.

The procedure is that once legal practitioners apply to be recognised as State Counsels, the Presidency forwards names to the Law Association of Zambia ( LAZ) and the Judiciary. The Law Association of Zambia then circulates the names to serving State Counsels to conduct interviews. The applicants are also endorsed by the Judiciary.

The major requirements to be satisfied during these interviews is that the applicants should have successfully handled five cases in superior courts, which cases should also have been published in the Zambia Law Reports.

The Superior Courts are Court of Appeal of Zambia, The Supreme Court of Zambia ( SCZ) and the Constitutional Court of Zambia. The cases before these superior courts should have been handled five years preceeding applications.

All the five applicants conferred as State Counsels by President Hakainde Hichilema are reported to have failed the interviews.

The President was notified of this failure of the applicants, hence going ahead to confer them with the status of State Counsel was an abuse of authority of office.

Another matter is that the President can only recognise three State Counsels in a year. Although this is not a breach of the Constitution, it constitutes procedural impropriety, raising questions about the motive for proceeding with the process.

As for Jack Mwiimbu, he is reported to have failed the interviews by State Counsels and was only endorsed by the Judiciary.

On the 15th March 2024, Zambian Whistleblower sent a written Press Query for a comment from LAZ President Lungisani Zulu to be received by Wednesday 20th March 2024. This morning Friday 22nd March 2024, Mr. Zulu was contacted at 0808hrs to send the response. He responded at 10:12hrs and said he would check with the research department.

By press time, the LAZ President had not sent the response. We shall publish such response from LAZ once it is received.

The Law Association of Zambia ( LAZ) should clarify this matter to confirm whether or not President Hichilema conferred ” Fake State Counsels ”

Courtesy of Political dialogue

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