Justice Minister says judges strike illegal: Judiciary ‘holding Malawi to ransom’

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu has said judges and magistrate who will be withholding their labour from Wednesday to join the ongoing judiciary strike will be acting unconstitutionally.

Tembenu:  Judiciary is part of government hence their strike is unconstitutional

Tembenu: Judiciary is part of government hence their strike is unconstitutional

The Judiciary has asked government to implement a salary adjustment for its staff to correspond with that of the civil service, as per Clause 44 (2) of the Judiciary’s conditions of service, but with agreed percentages specifically for Judiciary.

The demands of the Judiciary are contained in a letter which Supreme Court of Appeal judge Lovemore Chikopa, who chairs the Working Committee on the Terms and Conditions of Service of the Judiciary, wrote to the Attorney General copied to Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Chief Secretary to the Government, Solicitor General, principal secretary for the Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD), chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament and Ministry of Finance budget director

The Judiciary’s demands included a new Toyota VX V8 engine vehicle for the Chief Justice and 36 new vehicles for judges, which are estimated to cost K1.6 billion and free housing for staff.

The executive arm of government says the demands will not be met due to current economic turmoil.

Reacting to impending strike by judges and magistrates who threatened to join judicial support staff, Justice Minister Tembenu said “by deciding to go on strike, as an arm of Government, the Judiciary is effectively abdicating its constitutional responsibilities.”

Tembenu said the Judiciary is aware that Government (which includes the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive) is actively pursuing cashgate cases in the courts and that the Judiciary is a key player in the handling of these cases.

“It is general knowledge that the cashgate cases have generated national, regional and international interest. Therefore, the Judiciary’s stated intention to go on strike at this point is tantamount to holding the people of Malawi to ransom. In any case, it is a tragedy for a whole arm of Government to shut down in the manner proposed and deny the people of Malawi their right to access justice,” state the Justice Minister.

Tembenu said the Judiciary’s demand for a salary adjustment corresponding to the adjustments occasioned by the restructured salaries in the Civil Service is unacceptable.

“For that demand to be accommodated, it will defeat the whole purpose of the harmonization policy adopted by Government in 2005. In any event, it is an anomaly to describe the salary restructuring and harmonization as a general increment and to be used as a basis for the current demand,” said Tembenu.

“Further, in line with section 114 of the Constitution which provides ‘that salaries, allowances and benefits of holders of Judicial office shall be increased at intervals so as to retain their original value’, Government offered to bring the salaries of the Judiciary to the same level as those obtaining in the Civil Service and to add on top of that a 15% increment.

“This proposed adjustment would have put the salaries of the Judiciary above those in the Civil Service. The Judiciary has flatly rejected this proposal,” explained the minister.

Tembenu said government has engaged the Judiciary on their demands and has explained why they cannot be accommodated in full due to the current economic situation.

“The Judiciary has refused to compromise and this has led to the current impasse,” he said.

He faulted the Judiciary for interpreting their Terms and Conditions of Service as providing for purchase of new vehicles to every newly appointed Judge “though this is not expressly states in the Terms.”

On the salary adjustment, Justice Minister maintained that the position of government is that what has happened in the Civil Service is a “salary restructuring exercise and not a general increment “as envisaged in Judiciary’s Terms and Conditions of Service

Tembenu appealed to the judiciary “to live up to their constitutional mandate and responsibilities in the interest of the people of Malawi.”

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57 thoughts on “Justice Minister says judges strike illegal: Judiciary ‘holding Malawi to ransom’”

  1. bwititi says:




  3. kachikho says:

    It appears there is total madness in Malawi. Government has no money but they decided to increase civil servants’ salaries which has triggered demand by people who work for the Judiciary for similar treatment as agreed with government. Now the ACB staff do not want the gravy train to leave them behind they also demand similar treatment. After all if there is money for the civil servants there should be money for them as well. What next it will be other service providers such as ESCOM , Water Boards, City and District assemblies , University staff etc. These are difficult times for Malawians which were perpetrated by leaders who do not give a damn about the welfare of Poor Malawians. Malawians are paying the price for their leaders mistakes. What a pity only the small children are able to take to thesstreet

  4. chicco says:

    I don’t see the reason why the so called Judicials should need this money at the time we,Malawians are in need of them. Have they seen themselves superior because they are dealing with Cashgate cases? Does the amounts mentioned in these cases in the government’s accounts? It could be wiser if you could say that ‘any case concerning Cashgate, the suspect should pay a refundable fee if found not guilty’ so that those Cashgaters who want their cases to run faster, will pay and if found guilty,you share the fee among yourself. That could be a better business to deal with these people than killing the whole Malawi. You will regret this because you will be judged by the Judge of Judges for aiding Malawians to die. Watch Out!!!!

  5. Jando says:

    Money or no money dialogue and contact on a negotiating table in good faith be encouraged to settle the labour disputes,and not through press conferences which just flare up the volatile situation.

  6. Manolo says:

    What is constitutional about The President and his “wife” siphoning money from NAC and different ministries and organizations. Mr Tembenu you have not said a word about that. What is constitutional about the President bribing the media sir?????

  7. Taelos says:

    These are selfish servants,government should restructure them in civil service not as parastatal

  8. pyepye says:

    Please give them their money. Mukuwakaniza ndi zanu? Apatseni, enafe milandu yathu ikuchedwa. Tikudikira money ifeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  9. Cunningham says:

    They broke every law to put this man on the political throne, what are they crying for now? A president that was enthroned at night can never do any better. Here we go Malawi, we have over four years to go. Munasekerera atatchula kuti ndi yemwe wawina

  10. Umunthu says:

    Very soon, mwala wokanidwa ukhala wa pa ngodya. Can’t you see section ya running mate ija ikugwira ntchito apa? Basi central region ikulowa m’bwalo

  11. Timothy says:

    Heart attack ina ili pafupi. Then there will be the midnight six again as there is no way Chilima will be allowed to ascend to the presidency thrown. History really does repeat itself ey.

  12. John says:

    You want other people to live up to their constitutional mandate and responsibilities in the interest of Malawi? That is SO RICH coming from the gvt that is wasting AIDS money bribing journalist and doing other ethnic/tribal issues that has nothing to do with what the money is intended for. Why don’t you LIVE UP TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE first and lead by example?

  13. I agree with the Minister. However, we need to put in place legislation to ensure that future industrial action taken by the judiciary must not result in complete paralysis of this vital arm of the government. I would propose that such legislation should include a provision to the effect that during industrial action by the judiciary steps be taken by representatives of the striking members of staff to ensure that at all times there is in place some sort of skeleton staff to handle court cases.

    As it is even the members of the judiciary themselves cannot go to courts to seek specific performance of the alleged contractual terms. Similarly aggrieved citizens cannot go to court to seek judicial review of the action taken by the judiciary support staff. in case the executive ting under the influence of this madness decided to fire all the striking workers, where would the workers seek remedies particularly the remedy declaring that termination of their employment is illegal.

  14. government of fools says:

    A heart attack waiting to happen.

  15. mwai malambe banda says:

    Civil servants are the least paid. Although their salaries were hiked,they can’t match with the judicial salaries. So leave civil servants out of this. These judicial people are very selfish, they believe no profession is equal to theirs, which is a big misconception. I salute medical doctors, nurses, not you corrupt individuals who deliver selective justice in your judgement. Am praying and fasting for you people so that you should change your attitude and go back to work. Put national duty ahead of anything else.God bless you.

  16. MWENECHO says:

    We need third arm of government

  17. MWENECHO says:

    The judiciary id demanding just too much from already staggering taxpayer. It is ridiculous for one to demand what a country cannot afford. This is greed at its best, yet service delivery at its worst. After all, Judiciary does not deserve any increment if service performance is anything to go by. Though clueless on dealing with current precarious economic malaise, the executive has a BIG point here.

  18. NKhutukumve says:

    I doubt if the president is listening to this outcry…..he doesn’t care at all. the country is at autopilot…..munyanyala mpakana mutopa!

  19. chindere says:


  20. amangwetu says:

    Judging judges!

  21. Kwangwagwa says:

    What Tembenu has said is also illegal. What judiciary wants is what judiciary and government agreed upon sometime ago. If government was signed the agreement blindly, then the government should blame itself while at the same time implementing the agreement, period. ma jaji woyeeeee!. Civil servants nanunso yiyambeni wogwira ntchito ku makhoti including judges ndiponso a legislator akuposani bwanji malipiro pamene iwonso ndi nthambi za boma?

  22. chechipapwiche says:

    Just sue the judiciary!!

  23. kapawike says:

    kambilanani ndi anthuwo nanunso munali momwemo musawaopyeze aaaaah!!! bwanji?

  24. Ineyo says:

    NGATI ILI ILLEGAL IPITITSENI KU COURT NGATI MUKAWINE, SI OGAMULA NDI MA JUDGE OMWEO? Why use scare tactics that never work instead of solving the problem? If you say the strike is illegal is keeping civil servant unpaid for months legal? TRYING TO SCARE JUDGES IS LIKE A POLICE OOFICER SHOOTING WA ARMY CHIFUKWA CHOZOLOWERA KUPHA ANTHU CHISAWAWA AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

  25. sgonondo says:

    and you are going to the general public for what, are you trying to attract some public sympathy????? just go and meet the judges and convince them that you do not want to give them what is due to them and they should go back to work, idiots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. nkhedu says:

    zikhala zainu atombolombonu ndiye changu kukwezerana.Tiyeni nazoni mpaka chaka woo

  27. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Selfish, inconsiderate, money and luxury possessed evil judges. Why not let them resign or fire them. There are a lot legal, well trained people who would ably take their positions. They should not hold the people of this country at ransom, should not milk the dying cow, Malawi, without remorse. They are already financially fat cats. Government take a national caring and God fearing risk, fire them if they don’t resign. They are national cannibals.

  28. Lake Malawi says:

    A Tembenu mufera zaeni apa. Sibwino kungoyankhula kuti mutchuke. Their concerns are very genuine so you need to address them. If you knew that there is no money why did you increase the salaries for the civil servants; if the govt was smart it would have just said there are no increments for civil servants coz we have no cash and will increase when things nomalize. But they went ahead and raised the salaries for civil servants and then start saying that there in no money to others no no no no. These people are talking about written conditions of service. Now its ACB with their own demands. Kaya zanu izo MUSOVA.

    1. Nzeru Zokuya says:

      Latest Salary hamornization policy invalidates all older policies that makes the other guys too fat

  29. I2D2 says:

    one word: greed.

  30. Ineyo says:

    What is the executive saying? You want to harmonise salaries so you can’t accept their demands, then you say in pursuant to sec.114 u add 15% so salaries in the judiciary are above main stream civil service. Then you say you can’t accept their demands because of the economic hardship…i thought this is the same reason why they are striking? People including employees in the judiciary are going through economic hardships, why should they then forgo what belongs to them just because the govenment is poorly governed consequently has no money for salaries? From Tembenu’s statement, i conclude that the judiciary has a legitimate demand especially on salary increment only that the government is running away by changing word like “it was not a salary adjusment but salary restructuring, please..accept you have failed



  32. Mr.Bambo says:

    Govt. at a crossroads.

  33. Kadushu says:

    DPP mumafuna kuoneka madolo munachita zinthu mwachangu osayang’ana kaye kuti kukudza chani. before implementing CS salaries you could have checked are you doing the right thing and is it not going to back fire.

    lero mwazionatu apatseni ndizawo Cashgate isakhale choophyezera anthu nanga inu munaba zija zizayambika liti.

    Boma ilooooooo Dpp woyeeeeee

  34. Uhudi says:

    Osaopsezanapo apa man ili ndi dziko lathu and ngati pali vuto likuchokera mu office mwanumo man.

  35. Leo says:

    Just reduce Ministers benefits and pay the striking personel

  36. Nzika says:

    We are aware that the Judges did engange the executive arm of Government as the purse holder over the salary adjustments being sought for and on several occasions they have been rebuffed.They gave notice for this industrial action and we are told there has been no convincing response from the masters.Cashgate cases are indeed important and need to be expedited as much as possible and I do agree with the Hon Learned Minister that Cashgate cases have drawn interest both home and abroad but if Goverment does not provide the necessary tools for the handling of Cashgate cases, the cases wheels will not move and at the end of the day the whole fight will be lost. We know very well how frustrated judges,magistrates and support staff can behave…if they choose to use that frustrated mood and engange auto pilot on these cases, your guess on the outcomes is as good as mine. Our masters in Government are the best witnesses on Earth as to what some Judges are capable of doing ,,that is if their six months Memory still serves them right and of course if they still remmember atleast that one Maxon Mbendera senior counsel is a Learned Court Judge.wish you well folks

    1. johnM says:

      If the judiciary decides to go ahead with the strike and the Government refuses to budge, what will be the consequences? You do realize that cashgate cases can be transferred to other form of justice systems. In this country, it happened before when the judiciary became too pompous, Kamuzu created the traditional courts and the traditional courts handled most of the sensitive cases affecting the country at the time. There was none of this nonsense of adjournments which we hear of today. Justice was swift and effective. We can revive the traditional courts again and so that some people should be knocked off their perch.

      The judiciary should not hold the people of this country to ransom because of their position. I think the position of the Minister of Finance is clear, ndalam palibe so azathu aku Judiciary aisova

  37. Nachipanti says:

    Di Phii Phiiii…Boma iloooooo!! Muisova nokhaaa.. Munkayesa kulowa m’boma mokakamiza zinthu zingakuyendereni?? Mulithawa dziko ili…Judges, more fire… akhaule amenewa.

  38. Munthu wa Mulungu says:

    Makhoti ndi amene anakuikani pa mpando, lero mukuwaponya miyala. Chikondi cha nkwangwa, chokoma pokwera. Kodi Kenyata Nyirenda akuona zimenezi? You don’t have to be short sighted when making judgements. Zonsezi ndinutu. Lero aliyense akulira akuyang’ana inu.

  39. musovenge says:

    ndilibe mau koma chisoni chokha komanso ndatsimikizadi kuti chinthu chakuba nchakubadi Ambuye Mulungu Yehova konzani Malawi (safulumila sachedwa)

  40. kester kaphaizi says:

    DPP government is useless. Judges seat the whole day and long hours they don’t have time to rest. If there servants who really work are the judges. Iwe Peter give them enough money from NAC

  41. Bazuka says:

    The justice minister is not just at all. Firstly, the interpretation of the Terms of Conditions were well explained by Chikopa. Secondly, Peter Mutharika has waisted K70 Million from NAC on Journos Mulhako, NIB & his wife BEAM. So which economic crisis is the justice minister talking about? Thirdly, the JM must be talking to judges not press statements with the purpose of buying public sympathy. Peter was so hasty to be a president but some of us knew that voters have given us an imbecile fit to the dustbin. Sorry Malawians you are led by a mentally challenged president good at NACGATING only.

  42. Two Tees says:


  43. Zansete says:

    Boma lalephela ili,nkovuta kuti olo ma donors awakhulupilile chifukwa choipa kapena cholakwika china chili chonse chonse ma donors amadana nacho boma la chipani cha DPP likukhudzidwa,a Malawi munalakwitsa kwambiri.

  44. Of rationalization and harmonization:why first degree holders given prados while medical doctors are boarding minbuses to and from work?Graduates from the same CHANCO working as secondary school teachers are paid less than 100000mk while their counterparts in the judiciary over 300000mk why?why?I mean why and why!

  45. Why this time?Akuziwa chimene akuchita they helped you kukuwikani mu boma give them what you promised them otherwise God will expose you. Justice Potani and Nyirenda you devils God will punish you mbava zikapanda kugawana bwino zosatatira ndizimene tikuona zi

  46. jj says:

    too bad. judiciary slogan ” money first “

  47. Pepni majaji athu. Mwapezerapo mwai pa cashgate chifukwa 51% ndi yayikulu Zedi! Apa ndiye mukufuna kugwetsa boma la a Muthalika. Yambani ntchito zanu. Your demands are just too much

  48. Mwaiwawo says:

    Akhoti nyanyalanibe mpaka akuthandizeni ife tikusowa chiweluzo m’khoti. Akakuganizirani ifenso titseka zipatala zonse ndikumathandizana a chipatala tokhatokha mpaka malipiro athu ataposa amene akupatseni. Selfish pipo!

  49. C says:


  50. Ineyo says:

    Good salary is important for everyone. Not sure about VX V8 cars. Especially given the economic situation at the moment. Actually VX V8 cars are not necessary even when the economy is thriving.

  51. Malawianah says:

    Kkkkkkkkk kamba amanyelera omunyamula.ndimayesa mumati ndinu mashasha inu,munkati mudzakoza zinthu,takozanitu lero.alipileni anthu munawa lonjeza kale zambiri.

  52. Lawyers says:

    Will Peter Muthalika survive these labour demands? I fear for his life because the strikes will spread like wild fires. The other less priviledged civil servants will be striking for harmonization of salaries just like it was during the Kamuzu period. The judiciary is acting like Adolf Hitler. You give them an inch, they take a yard. You give them a yard, they take a mile. The judges are already leading a comfortable life. The other civil servants survive on theft that ranges from cashgating and selling fuel allocated in that cards in what is known as “kusungunula”. Peter Muthalika thought it would be easy life when he rigged the elections. There are calls for federation due to his tribalism and regionalism. It looks Peter’s advisor is Bakili Muluzi the devil. Peter is really stressed and his age does not allow this.

  53. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    That’s what you promised all of us working in the government ,you promised us that we will not to go with the change to our houses during the months ends. We need our promises to be fulfilled as you promised all of us working in the gorvenment. All civil servants we voted you into power because of a good package you were promising us during your campaigns..
    The whole civil service is ready to join judiciary if you cheated all of us of good salary increment. YOU WILL SEE WHAT MADE A GUIENE FOWEL TO CUT ALL ITS HAIR

  54. Ma battery a mlakho says:

    The injustice minister should have said ‘Judiciary and poverty is holding Malawi by its balls’!

  55. MASITENI says:


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