JUSTICE Mambilima almost never set her foot wrong she was dependable in whatever she did, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka has said.
Speaking after he signed the book of condolences at the Supreme Court, Kalaluka who remembered the late chief justice for her diligence, said the latter cannot be censured for the service she rendered to the nation.
“We were all devasted when we received the news of the passing of her ladyship justice Irene Mambilima. To us she was a hands-on judge, a legal luminary and she was an embodiment of the judicial authority. Wherever she was she displayed authority and yet she was so gentle and warm to everyone,’’ he said. ‘’She was like a parent to the legal profession, so we truly are devastated by her passing especially that we didn’t have any warning of her impending illness or death. We have lost a pillar of justice. In her judgements and the way she interacted with everyone you can hardly find anyone who would fault her for anything.”
Kalaluka said justice Mambilima’s shoes were too big to fill, but he was optimistic that the deputy chief justice Michael Musonda was equal to the task.
“The deputy chief justice will leave up to the expectations, he’s a man who has proved himself. If there will be court matters that will involve the acting chief justice, I believe justice Musonda is up to the task. The shoes left by her ladyship are too big but we believe he will live up to the expectation,” Kalaluka added.
He said justice Mambilima should be acclaimed for not erring in executing her duty.
“We should look to her for the legacy she has left. She was strong, she was firm and she almost never set her foot wrong she was dependable in whatever she did as chief justice and at the Electoral Commission of Zambia. You all recall how firm and assertive she has always been. She was always warm; it’s such a great loss,” Kalaluka said.
And his message of condolence read: “My lady madam chief justice, it’s sad that you have gone to be with the Lord, without giving me a chance to say goodbye. You have been an inspiration to the legal profession and a pillar of justice to the whole country. Go thee well, my lady.”
Former minister of justice Given Lubinda reminisced justice Mambilima’s impartiality and efforts to upgrade the judicial system.
“A dark cloud has fallen on Zambia and the justice sector of the country, especially coming a few days after the passing of the founding father of the country. I am very affected by this demise, I knew justice Mambilima over a number of years, she exuded a high level of integrity and a high level of patriotism to her country; she was extremely determined to ensure that there is justice for all in Zambia,” he said.
“I will remember her for working extremely hard at making the justice system preplace, she worked extremely hard at digitalising all the case records in the court system. She ensured there is better infrastructure provided for the justice system. She and I, had this ambition of digitalising the information flow in the justice system; we worked extremely hard at trying to interlink all the justice institutions such as the police, National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), the courts and correctional facilities. She focused on case-flow management system to ensure that there is no backlog of cases.”
Lubinda urged adjudicators to emulate justice Mambilima for her equity in honour of her legacy.
“Her endowment should be honoured by all the legal practitioners to emulate her level of fairness, she understood matters before pronouncing a judgement. She was a person who held fairness supreme in all her decisions,’’ Lubinda added. ‘’Particularly the people she leaves on the bench, they have somebody they can emulate now that she’s no more. It’s time to reflect on how she handled herself and her office. What a gallant legal brain we have lost!’’
Lubinda’s message of condolence read: ‘’Dear CJ, you were an epitome of legal reasoning in the Zambian legal system. I am grateful to God almighty for according me the opportunity to serve as Zambia’s minister of justice at the same time that you were CJ. It is now only my prayer that all the plans that you had for making the justice system more efficient shall be implemented by those who shall follow your footsteps. You lived your life well, you served your country diligently and therefore go well till we meet again.”
Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa recollected how the late chief justice influenced legal practitioners to be disciplined.
“She taught us how to conduct ourselves at the bar, develop jurisprudence for the good of Zambia. Our court buildings are deserted; this is a very sombre situation but, in life everything that happens, happens for a reason,’’ said Mwansa. ‘’We celebrate the life of the late chief justice. She was not only a mother, aunt and grandmother, she was a leader that gave guidance to the young and old at the bar. She contributed immensely to the development of jurisprudence in our jurisdiction and beyond.”
His message of condolence read: “Dear aunt Irene, the first lady chief justice of this great nation Zambia. In this your book, I write that the life you led, the career path you took speaks volume of the kind of person you were. We shall surely cherish and miss you at the bar. Go well, you ran your race and you taught us all, rest in eternal peace.”
And justice Mambilima’s nephew, Kazimbe Chenda wrote: “Words cannot express what you have done for the country and legal profession. It is our hope that we and others after us can emulate and uphold your values and work ethic. You are gone in a physical form but your legacy as our legend is immortal. Rest in power and peace.”