Judiciary strike: Legal experts warn of lawsuits against Malawi govt

Legal experts have warned of possible lawsuits against government from the suspects who are being remanded  in custody beyond the constitutional 48-hour period  due to the ongoing strike by the judicial staff.

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company:  Expect civil suits from suspects held beyond 48 hours

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: Expect civil suits from suspects held beyond 48 hours

The court support staff have been on strike for a week now to force government to harmonise salary increments with civil servants, a development that has seen people being denied access to justice.

The Mzuzu based private lawyer George Kadzipatike says the government is doing injustice to Malawians by letting one of its arms paralyzed without finding an immediate solution.

“I can say that we are now in a crisis,” he said, adding “nowhere the flamers of the constitution indicated that one of the three arms of the government would be paralyzed.

“This means that the current situation in which the judiciary is paralyzed is abnormal, therefore there is great need to return it to its normalcy,” said Kadzipatike in an interview with Nyasa Times.

He said there is great possibility that the government would cough a lot of money through compensations should the suspects who are kept in custody beyond the 48-hour period decide to sue the government.

“I don’t think the judiciary strike would be a valid excuse for the illegal keeping of the suspects,” he said.

Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) Victor Mhango also said the strike has made some convicts or suspects to stay in custody illegally due to the expiry of their warrants.

“It is only the courts that renew that warrant once they have expired. Many of those in custody had their warrants expired some time back, so here we can say that prisons are keeping many people unlawfully,” he said.

He said there is no access to justice, which is a constitutional right. Consequently, human rights and the Constitution have been being violated. For example, the Constitution provides that suspects can be detained for only 48 hours within which time they must be brought before a court. Otherwise, they must be released.

He noted  that there must have been numerous cases of illegal detention and detention without trial. It is likely that a lot of taxpayers’ money will be wasted in civil suits against government on this account.

Statistics show that about the number of inmate has risen from the 5,000 to about 13,000 .

Inspector General (IG) of Police Lot Dzonzi has admitted that courts strike has hit the Malawi Police Service hard, creating overpopulation in holding cells, among others.

He said police will be forced to release on bail suspects who have committed minor offences, especially those that will be able to report for bail and can be traced in case they jump bail.

Lawyers, whose work is mainly court-based, have  also been struggling to earn their bread and butter.

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25 thoughts on “Judiciary strike: Legal experts warn of lawsuits against Malawi govt”

  1. chesta says:

    people in law and justice should act to protect other sectors as well not when it directly involves there interest only. what about striking teachers. this is not the first time they have reacted like this.

  2. Fathi Alshab says:

    if ze president swore ti protect ze constitution… why is he watching the judiciary staff saga escalate beyond 48hrs…means he is part of bad behaviiour…why did he say mothing thursday 20nov.. kodi muli ku ndata a bwana kapena kwa dona ku blk….oh kalanga ine a malawi mpaka ana aku primary strike vfor teachers next will be vendors minibus drivers zen cockroches in my hse…

  3. Angozo says:

    This is nosense and stupid, how can you relate elections and the strike, these are two different things. I think what should the government do is to revise judiciary staff salaries and match them with those of civil service. The judiciary should not have their own salaries they have to go togather with civil service. What special is judicial? Are they have different education academic quakifcations with those in civil service

  4. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Yes according to the law. But the victims of those who are in custody have also not received justice. Which court will hear the law suits? The judiciary should be sued. They will be the sued and the judges!!!!

  5. Maliseni says:

    I agree that the rights of our brothers and a few sisters have been suspended in the absence of Court operations. But on the other hand am fully aware that the lawyers are also sleeping on an empty stomach as they earn between MK 50,000.00 to MK 120,000.00 for every person they support to obtain a bail from court.

    I suppose there is no government in the absence of one of the main three arms of the government.

  6. Yokoniya Mankhusu says:

    Thanks bwana legal expert. can you also extend your advice and tell the nation that workers who do not work for a full month are not entitled to get a salary at the end of the month. As it is government should not pay the court staff who have not worked for a full month or pay them for the number of days they worked. chonde govt do give these people our tax money they dont deserve it, apatseni aphunzitsi akupulayimale. angazolowele kumangodya zaulelele.

  7. Only president can immediate thought the matter,so we could very surprise and wonder if he just watch as we do in the football,otherwise we will reach january end or beyond that so dont trouble innocent suspects in cells because there is no food police cells also police men/wemen can manage to hat food for those who do not have relavives close to stations,thank mr.for reminding them maybe they can tacle the matter.

  8. Abiti Mtila says:

    How many suspects have spent years on remand without been given bail? Which suspects are you interested in? Who is denying justice who? Who is responsible for the strikes? Muyisovenge! Government is not a human being, it never loses! You can’t fight the government you will never win. Some Cash gaters are funding these protests to delay their court hearings but no matter how long it will take, the law will take its course!

  9. chuwa chimo says:

    this strike is unfair, i think government should suck all of those who are striking and recruit new ones. A good example is jonathan goodluck, when he sucked large number of doctors who were refusing to attend ebola patients claiming of less recources, but at the end ebola was deafeted in Nigeria. they are many young skilled people in labour market here in malawi suitable for that job.

  10. YOKWIYA says:

    Who is doing injustice to Malawians, Judicially staff or Government? Is the judicially strike legal? Who is their leader? Did they give the government enough notice for the strike? These judicially staff are holding the Government to a ransom for a purpose. Somebody is behind this action. The best the government can do is to suspend all the striking staff and recruit young school leavers to take up their jobs. Tatopa nawo amenewa. They were given increments not a long time ago now they want another increment just because salaries for civil servants have been adjusted. Usabi chani!!

  11. Much as I sympathize with those so far detained for more than 48 hours without having been brought to Court, then I will disagree with the learned legal expert if his position is simply based on the 48 hour rule.

    If Counsel’s position is based on S.42 (2) (b) of the Constitution, my view has to be read fully. My view is that the framers of the Constitution were wise enough to take to include a scenario where the 48 hours talked of expires outside ordinary court hours or on a day which is not a court day in which case the person so detained will have to be brought before and independent court of law on the first court day after such expiry.

    the question is with the strike at the courts are we having court days? Or will the first court day will arise on the date the strike will come to an end? This section in my view has a limitation.

    I must however hasten to add that by bringing court business to a halt people who are being detained for more than 48 hours and including any other persons seeking a judicial remedy have their right to access justice suspended. The suspension in in my view unjustified.

    I think we need to amend our laws so that we restrict strikes by members of judiciary by inter alia requiring that when they go on strike there must be in place some sort of a skeleton staff, perhaps on rotational basis, to attend to pressing issues. This must apply to all essential services.

    1. Jelbin mk says:

      My haphazard ,if u were a lawyer all your clients would been locked up even for crimes they didn’t do, the constitution is clear that if a,y suspect is arrested he or she should be brought before a competent court of law and charged with the crime he or she is suspected of within 48 hours under any circumstances whether there is a strike or not failing which a suspect is to be released unconditionally because the state has no case against the suspect,so what u are trying to explain here doesn’t hold water Mr.

  12. ramahwle says:

    you were busy rigging elections thinking that running government is all about stealing monies. musova!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Malawiana says:

    This is a bogus lawyer indeed. These industrial actions are not predictable and have more to do with the prevailing economic situations as opposed to the contents of the constitution. If government has no money to pay the salaries so be it and the constitution cannot generate money after all.

  14. Boko says:

    Thats DPP govt for you. Hahaha, kikiki tiyeni nazoni. Mumati running govt is like fucking Gertrude.

  15. Civil servant says:

    Don’t use that advantage to hold government hostage. In fact, judiciary is the least important arm in Malawi, unfair sentences targeting the poor. Keep striking boys & girls.

  16. Aliphee says:

    Aprofessor of law as a president of the republic of malawi

  17. Jelbin mk says:

    These DPP enthusiasts have failed beyond recognition, where will they take money to compensate suspects if they are failing to even pay teachers for five months? Thy thought running government was as simple as running ndata farm.

  18. Andrew phiri says:

    What do u tink can b de solution 2 de current court crisis situation? De nation nids ur input.

  19. Lawyers depend on the judiciary for a living. People are being denied justice accross the country just because the government is failing to resolve the crisis. What is wrong with Peter Muthalika who now looks relaxed in the running of government. Did he want to be president just to have a state funeral? A dead man is not different whether it will be a gule wamkulu funera or a geneza funeral or a state funeral. There is no coming back once dead. Resolve the strike. The last one took three months to resolve.

  20. bypartisan says:

    The problem is with our Police Service, they cling to suspects and treat them as if they r already convicted! Let the Police release all suspects who have stayed beyond 48hours. We should not always blame government when we know the culprit is the police, the courts always assure us that Police bail is free but how many people access this service? Its only when a policeman or a policeman’s relative is arrested that they give swift bails otherwise the Police r happy when their cells r full and happier when escorting suspects to court!

  21. Pido says:

    Koma apapa Judiciary servants adzikonda. They are already highly paid

  22. Akilly 2 says:

    Kadzipatike yako ndi paragraph yomalizayo tangonenani kuti madyedwe ndiwo ayamba kuvuta ndi strike ya a Court,kkkkkkkkkkkk!

  23. Moya says:

    The cashgate guys could be fueling this strike to just prolong their verdict that’s why a special and well funded court was needed to hear out all these cashgate cases at once. In short let’s look beyond salary hike as the cause. These cashgate mafias are desperate and would do anything to stop or prolong their trials.

  24. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    What is Malawi as a nation expecting from APM , whenever a country is going through such problem ? Malawi will never move a centimeter forward as long as Peter will a be president of Malawi , Mbendera has destroyed Malawi because of selling Malawi to these DPP idiots . Cash gate is found everywhere in Malawi , those investigating corruption they should extend to MEC as well ,a lot of money had exchanged hands in order for APM to become a president. The MK92 billion was spent to rigging the elections.

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