By MILDRED KATONGO, BRIAN HATYOKA and MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
ACTING Ndola High Court Judge-in-Charge Emelia Sunkuntu has said the Judiciary has continued to receive a high number of defilement and Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases despite stiff punishment being meted on culprits.
Justice Sunkuntu said it was disappointing that despite GBV cases attracting maximum sentences of more than 15 years, the cases had continued at a worrying level.
She said this yesterday during the official opening of the Ndola High court criminal sessions.
She said there was need to find a lasting solution to the cause of GBV as the vice had continued to be on the increase.
“It is disheartening not only to the Judiciary but also to us as guardians and parents to note that GBV cases have continued to increase despite the sensitisation and long sentences. If giving long sentences to offenders is not making any impact then there should be a problem. Let us find a lasting solution to this,” she said.
She called on civic leaders and other stakeholders to intensify their efforts in sensitising the people on the dangers of GBV.
Ms Sunkutu also said that the Judiciary had challenges with infrastructure development as there were inadequate court rooms and offices.
She attributed the inadequacy in court rooms and offices to inadequate funding.
She said adequate funding would help the High Court quicken the dispensation of cases and help deliver judgments on time.
She appealed to Government to increase budgetary allocation to the Judiciary so that it could improve on its operations including that of disposing of cases on time.
Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge said Government was committed to providing funds so that the Judiciary performed to the expectations of the people.
Mr Musenge said Government would also continue to ensure that the Judiciary remained independent in its operations as it played an important role in the governance of the country.
He said Government acknowledged that although the Judiciary suffered general operational challenges last year, it managed the criminal sessions accordingly.
He however, called on Zambians to avoid attacks on the Judiciary when aggrieved, saying that the judicial system provided procedures and that the aggrieved should follow.
Livingstone Judge-in-Charge Ernest Mukulwamutiyo called for the fanancial autonomy of the Judiciary for it to be more effective.
Justice Mukulwamutiyo said the Judiciary in Southern Province faced many challenges such as transport, dilapidated and limited court rooms among others.
He said suspects had continued to complain over delays in having their cases concluded.
Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu was saddened that the Prisons Service in Livingstone was using an ambulance to ferry suspects to courts due to lack of transport.
Mr Mubukwanu said Government had taken note of the various concerns raised by the Judiciary and that they would be addressed.
In Kitwe, Kamfinsa State Prison officer-in-charge Joseph Kondoloni said the institution had no reliable transport to ferry inmates.
Mr Kondoloni said during the official opening of the Kitwe High Court criminal session that the only truck at the prison had constant breakdowns.
He said as of yesterday, Copperbelt had a total number of 3, 925 inmates with Kamfinsa State Prison having 2, 100, Chingola Prison 349, Kamfinsa Female Prison had 50, Kansenshi Prison 422, Ndola Remand 271, Mufulira State prison, 268, Luanshya State Prison 261 and Chondwe Prison, 204.
Acting Judge-in-Charge Isaac Kamwendo stressed the need for players in the judicial system to be effective, incorrupt and impartial in the performance of their duty.