Irene Mambilima is Chief Justice

IMMY CHIBUYE, Lusaka PRESIDENT Lungu has appointed Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Irene Mambilima as Chief Justice, taking over from Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.

Justice Mambilima, whose substantive position is Deputy Chief Justice currently seconded to ECZ as chairperson, will take over from Justice Chibesakunda, who was appointed by President Michael Sata and held the position of Chief Justice in an acting capacity for three years.

President Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that Justice Chibesakunda has retired on full benefits.

Justice Mambilima is the second woman Mr Lungu has appointed to a high-raking position following Inonge Wina, who was named Vice-President last week. And President Lungu has appointed former Zambia Daily Mail managing director Anthony Mukwita as Zambia’s deputy ambassador to Sweden.

Meanwhile, Mr Lungu has announced that Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will visit Zambia soon for bilateral talks aimed at resolving the operational problems dogging the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

“President Kikwete has informed me that as one of his last acts as President before he retires this year, he wants to see that the problems of TAZARA are resolved because the asset is critical in the socio-economic development of the two countries,” President Lungu said. He added: “We did well with China to build this magnificent asset and we cannot let 2,000km of railway go to waste.”

The President said this in the light of a major agreement signed between China and the African Union (AU) launching the high-speed train project which will connect African cities. The agreement was signed at the just-ended AU summit in Addis Ababa.

“The President’s decision is pursuant to Article 93 of the Constitution of Zambia which stipulates that: “The Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President,” Mr Chanda said.

He said President Lungu has directed that Justice Chibesakunda will continue in the post until Justice Mambilima has been ratified by Parliament.