On October 19, 2022, the Zambian Watchdog published a story on its Facebook page headlined “Only two Judiciary workers pass ZIALE Aptitude test. There were 170 candidates. There were only five questions…0” In the story, the Watchdog claimed the Judiciary of Zambia had “engaged the notorious Zambia Institute of Legal Advanced Education” (ZIALE) to test lay magistrates on Thursday October 13, 2022. “ZIALE did what it knows best: make all except two fail,” said the Watchdog.
iVerfiy Zambia has determined as misleading the assertion by the Zambian Watchdog and other social media platforms that the Judiciary had engaged ZIALE to prepare and set the aptitude test for lay magistrates. To establish the correct position on the matter, iVerify Zambia visited the Judiciary of Zambia official website and obtained a statement reacting to the claim. According to the statement dated October 19 and signed by Judiciary of Zambia Public Relations Officer Kalumba Chisambisha-Slavin, the Judiciary was concerned with assertions circulating on social media platforms that the Judiciary had outsourced the Zambia Institute of Legal Advanced Education (ZIALE) to prepare and administer the aptitude test for Magistrate Class III held on October 13, 2022. She said the correct position was that the aptitude test questions were set, compiled and marked by the Judiciary. “The only role that ZIALE played was to avail its facility (the examination hall) for use by the Judiciary,” Slavin explained. She said this was because the Judiciary had no facilities of its own to accommodate the number of candidates that sat for exams. “The Judiciary would therefore like to take this opportunity to inform the public that it remains committed to the ideals of transparency, accountability and probity and thus remains open to provide verified information to members of the public who may have queries on issues of interest,” said Slavin. Therefore, while it is true that only two passed the aptitude test of the 170 who sat for the test, the test questions were set, administered, and marked by the Judiciary and not ZIALE.