Malawi Chief Justice defies law, steps aside in Chasowa murder case

Malawi Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has defied the law by voluntarily recusing himself from certifying a Constitutional review on the application by two of the suspects in the murder case of polytechnic student, Robert Chasowa, who want to be discharged from the case.

Chief Justice Nyirenda: Steps aside

Chief Justice Nyirenda: Steps aside

Doff Bottoman and Peter Petros through their lawyer Ambokire Salimu applied to the High Court in 2013 to be discharged from the criminal proceedings on ground that the delay by the State in prosecuting them is unconstitutional.

And Justice Nyirenda despite being the only person to certify Constitutional proceedings on
the application as stipulated in Section 9 (3) of the Courts Act- which confines the power for certification to the Chief Justice- he has opted not to do so, instead he has delegated the case to another judge.

Justice Nyirenda, while admitting to have delayed in making his decision, said on Friday he has been compelled to cede his authority after he found himself in a situation ‘where the law was
short-sighted’.

“While the power of certification is confined to the Chief Justice, out of necessity and in the overriding interest of the administration of justice, it is more than compelling that I exercise the inherent powers of the court and cede my authority over these proceedings to the next most Senior Justice of Appeal,” said Justice Nyirenda.

Justice Nyirenda said he was not suited to preside over the certification of the application considering his proximity and involvement with the events leading to the case as he chaired the Commission of Inquiry on Chasowa’s murder.

He argued that it was necessary to recuse himself from the case to avoid his determination on the matter to be deemed bias, saying it is important to preserve public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of judicial system.

“While I could be convinced that I would live up to my oath of office to administer justice without fear, favour or prejudice, in accordance with the Constitution and the law, it is less than likely that fair minded and informed observers, having the facts and the background of the matter, would conclude that I proceeded without a real possibility of bias.

“Even if I was as important as I could be, nevertheless if fair minded persons would think, in the circumstances, there was a real livelihood of bias, I should give way”.

Commenting on Justice Nyirenda’s decision, Salimu said the Chief Justice applied a ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ – which is the basis on which extra-legal actions by state actors, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional.

“I think the Chief Justice is breaking new grounds. Considering the politics surrounding the case; we welcome his decision,” said Salimu.

Application to be Discharged

Bottoman and Petros who were arrested on July 17th, 2012 and charged of Chasowa’s murder before were released on bail in October same year, want to be discharged from the criminal proceedings, arguing that the State has failed to provide evidence to incriminate them in the murder case.

The case has for years failed to go for trial despite government once instituting a Commission of Inquiry that implicated several ruling democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials.

The application for an order to be discharged was expected to go for constitutional review following  the State’s protest that the two could not be let free based on Section 302A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, which doesn’t allow accused person charged with an offence whose maximum sentence exceeds three years.

The State argued that it was failing to commence trial as the case is “very complicated and resource consuming” such that it is yet to finalize investigating the matter- three years after Chasowa’s death.

However, Salimu pointed out that there was a need for the Constitutional review to decide on the interpretation and application of the provisions of the Constitution as Section 302A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code was inconsistent with Section 42 (2) (f) (i) of the Constitution which entitles every person arrested or accused of alleged offence to a fair trial within a reasonable time after having been charged.

According to Section 5 of the Constitution any act of Government or any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

In October, 2013 Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda who has been handling the case forwarded the matter to the Chief Justice for certification of the proceedings as Constitutional.

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30 thoughts on “Malawi Chief Justice defies law, steps aside in Chasowa murder case”

  1. AFANA says:

    Ziriko ku malawi

  2. Decent Citizen says:

    Chasowa and Njaunju are similar type of death in linking close to these blood sucking vampires who call themselves as politicians.They love blood money alot.Nice decision for justice Nyirenda to recuse himself.You have blood in your hands for ana aeni ake.Somebody’s account is fat for killing these people.

  3. Vwapuvwapu says:

    Pali nkhani apo kkkkkkk

  4. KARU UNITED says:

    Whoever said politics is a dirty game, siizo, mwana, atapita.

  5. Koma Inu says:

    Chancellor College trained judges always stepping aside when the case affects politicians? They only presides on cases for people who steal chickens, shame..

  6. mbanga says:

    The employer is the killer

  7. JCInLA says:

    Great leadership

  8. Ndanena says:

    Bravo nyirenda.imfa imeneyi koma imandiwawanso bwanji (robert chasowa) if you had a hand directly or vice versa ufe ndithu

  9. Chigawaneni says:

    Learned judge!

  10. PETER NYADANI says:

    WELL DONE JUDGE NYARENDA !!

    WELL DONE JUDGE
    PEOPLE SHOULD ALWAYS STEP ASIDE
    THE WAY OUR LEARNED JUDGE HAS DONE
    WHEN THERES RUMOUR OF CORRUPTION OR SUCH

    BUT SOME OF THESE MAFIAS KA KA KA
    OSAFINA KUSUNTHA POWOPA
    MILANDU

    SHAME ON THEM

    BRAVO NYARENDA

  11. Njolinjo says:

    kkkkk, what has this to do with the tumbukas? It seems you have nothing to say. Just coil your beak.

  12. Mashamase says:

    Mukopha anyirenda apa, put those murder on the move

  13. Nyamkumutu says:

    This man is humble and principled he deserve to be a leader ndakana uja amachita kukakamira mulandu wa Kasambala like zakwawo uja. Atengelepo phunziro.

  14. onglazzer says:

    anthu inu mumandidabwitsa, nokha mukhale judge, jury and jailer?

  15. wankhawa says:

    injustice in the name of justice

  16. guguh says:

    Koma guys mmene mumanenera like the law is not made by human beings, yet you (we) have the power to Change the law from being “short sighted”

  17. junk junk says:

    Akadati? Mukadakhala inu mukadateroso. Malawi the worst

  18. Nebuchadnezzar says:

    Ben Chitenje Paja ndi m’modzi wa anthu omwe adapha Robert Chasowa,ameneyunso akutetezedwa ndi dpp koma nthawi ikwana yoti ayankhe mlandu umenewu.

  19. nganituwe says:

    DPP party of murderers

  20. DOBO says:

    The big problem with Malawi judicial system is that it much operates under influence of politicians especially those in power. I think its waste of time to pursue that Chisowa case with DPP in power. Judiciary is not independent as far as political cases are concerned.

  21. Kenkkk says:

    Excellent decision and reasons for reclusing himself. That is how justice should be seen to have been done, Andrew is excellently leading from the front.

    Now judge Mtambo do exactly the same in the Kasambara case saga by following your boss’s exemplary and professional decision. Recluse yourself.

  22. Themistocles says:

    Justice delayed is justice denied,please speed up the case so that justice should prevail and that the culprit should be punished.

    I don’t why cases of this nature take too long. If someone had stolen a chicken the would have concluded but because it’s a murder case and involving politicians as well,it’s taking long. Let’s do justice and let the law do its thing on those involved without favour or fear.

    Another thing is that,Chanthunya should be extradited to Malawi and answer murder charges. Why is it that a relative of a politician should walk freely whilst he murdered someone? Had it been it was an ordinary person,wouldn’t he be rotting in a jail cell by now? Stop this act of prejudice and give justice to those who deserve it.

  23. benjnes says:

    THIS CASE SHOULD BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE NATION NO INNOCENT SHOULD BE MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD LIKE CHASOWA. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.

  24. Manuel says:

    I now doubt if DPP govt. operatives were involved in Chasowa murder. Media shuldn’t just be brainwashed by the mafia but investigate and investigate more deeply. See? Robert dealt with both police and pro-JB CSOs/CSIs. JB gets into power;inquires only in one camp, spares hers and the case fails! My guess is that the killers were pro-/& shielded by JB Govt. inquiry. Now study subsequent cases: Attempted Mphwiyo murder, A23 Accounts lady murder(she handled cashgaters’ cheques & so knew too much!)Njaunju murder,GTZ office burglary(only one party’s officials seem to know what is on “page 13” of the stolen documents!) Kamanya suicide note, Kumwembe letter to the Mphwiyo murder case judge etc. I see the hands of the mafia team here. Open ur eyes Malawians otherwise if w allow to b hoodwinked,these cases will last forever

  25. Roxy says:

    GOD FEARING MAN WHO HAS REALIZED THAT THERE IS ANOTHER FINAL JUDGE ABOVE .. HIS NAME IS GOD

  26. mtate mike rsa says:

    577bilion plus 92bilion at work very soon will be accounted for
    Mark myword

  27. peeping lizard says:

    KKKKKKK ACHINA MULLI PAULENDO WAKU MAULA BASII,KOMANSO YA NJAUNJU OSAISIYA CHONCHO!!!! MWAZIWAMUNTHU OSALAKWA,DAUSI CHONCHO SANGAGONE,KKKKKKK!!! INE PEEPING LIZARD ANTHU AMENE ANAPHA NJAUNJU NDINGATHE KUWAFUFUZA,CHIFUKWA ZIMANDIWAWA BAD!!!!! LL 24 BOYZ KNOWS THIS

  28. Gundumulani says:

    Justice delayed is justice denied and where are the results of the enquiry by government

  29. kkkkk says:

    Atumbuka dyela basis fake u

  30. Zambulo says:

    What do you mean he has defied the law? Be careful the way you use these terms. Nyirenda has done the good thing. He investigated the matter, so he cannot be judge as well.

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