Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Legal Affairs Committee have challenged the Judiciary to defend its allocation in the yet-to-be presented 2017/18 government financial plan against its performance on the delivery of justice to people in the country.
The committee’s position comes against the background of a myriad of complaints the committee says it continues to get.
As Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, presents the 2017/18 financial plans on Friday, Chairperson of the Committee Maxwell Thyolera said in an interview that the Judiciary, which is poised to appear before the committee, needs to come out clean on specific areas in terms of justice delivery.
Judiciary leadership is expected to appear before the committee next week, according to Thyolera.
“It is one of the issues that is on top of our agenda when we will be meeting the Judiciary when they come to defend their budget. Beginning next week, we will be looking at the budgets considering that the budget [for 2017 /18 financial year] will be presented tomorrow [Friday].
“It tops our agenda that we should ask them about justice in general including the allocation of judges because there have been numerous complaints regarding delivery of justice,” Thyolera said yesterday.
Without elaboration the sort of complaints the committee has been getting against the Judiciary, Thyolera said issues of cases taking long in the country’s courts will be on the agenda.
“Even cases where hearing has been conducted, we have cases where people have come to complain to us that it has taken over three years but judgement has not been delivered.
“These are some of the issues we [the committee] want them to come and defend their budget allocation and clarify issues on,” Thyolera said.
When contacted, Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said though he was not aware of the actual date when the third arm of government will meet the committee, such arrangement provides them a chance to look at achievements and what lies ahead in the next financial year.
“I have not been briefed in the actual meeting such that I wouldn’t competently comment on the issue. However, the Judiciary meets the committee every year during budget session to look at what we want to achieve in the government year ahead and also looks back at the previous year.
“This is the time we lobby for support from Members of Parliament and what have you,” Mvula said.