Analysis: CHAMBO NG’UNI
THIS month, Egypt is holding a high-level conference of chief justices, presidents of Supreme Courts, Constitutional Courts and heads of Judiciaries in Africa.
This will be at the third Cairo Conference of Chief Justices of Supreme Courts in Africa being hosted by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt (SCC), the highest court in Egypt established in 1979.
The conference is being held within the framework of strengthening cooperation between Egypt and other African countries.
Preparations for this prestigious meeting started last year and by November much work had been done.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has endorsed the holding of the third Cairo Conference of Chief Justices of Supreme Courts in Africa.
Dr AL Guebali said the conference will discuss and tackle matters pertaining to the judiciary and issues affecting the lives of people on the continent.
Previous summits were held in 2017 and 2018. Close to 45 countries’ heads of constitutional courts, supreme courts and judiciaries on the continent attended the high-level meetings and this year the number is expected to increase.
The two conferences came up with the Cairo 2017 Declaration on challenges facing the judiciary in Africa and the 2018 Cairo Declaration to establish an African Judicial Centre as an electronic platform for African judiciaries to network.
The new website connecting African judiciaries and the training programme will be launched at the conference.
President Abdel Fattah has endorsed both proposals and his Government has provided support for their implementation.
The Egyptian head of State has also approved and endorsed funding towards the introduction of the specialised training programme for African judges and other legal stakeholders.
The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt has invited all the countries on the continent, including Zambia.
“As for the conference of Chief Justices of Supreme Courts of Africa, it will be held in February 2019,” Dr AL Guebali explained.
“We have started a number of preparations and arrangements for the meeting because this meeting is a top priority of the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.”
Dr AL Guebali was explaining at Supreme Constitutional Court the importance of the conference when he hosted journalists who were attending the 52 training course for young African journalists in Egypt last year.
The journalists were from Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Gabon, Ghana and Lesotho.
Others were from Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This year’s conference is viewed as special because it will be held during the year when Egypt is expected to head African Union.
The Government of Egypt values the conference because it resonates with the conviction that the judicial system undertakes the duty of preserving civilisations and nations.
“The Egyptian State as well as the Egyptian Constitution Supreme Court will provide all the facilities needed by the delegates attending the summit,” Dr AL Guebali told the journalists.
His deputy, Chief Adel Omar, outlined that Egypt is committed in promotion of judicial relations with others courts in Africa.
Dr Omar stressed that the conference is part of Egypt’s contribution in strengthening the judiciary in Africa.
This month’s conference will further accord Chief Justices, Presidents of Supreme Courts, Constitutional Courts and Heads of Judiciaries in Africa an opportunity to follow up on recommendations made at the last two meetings.
They will also discuss challenges confronting the judiciaries on the continent in modern times and chart the way forward.
During the second three-day conference, which started February 19, 2018, participants discussed matters of promoting the role of the constitutional judiciary in fighting terrorism, corruption and organised crimes.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail senior reporter.
Analysis: CHAMBO NG’UNI