Malawi rights groups hit at ‘passive’ Mutharika on judicial strike

Human rights organisations in Malawi on Monday expressed deep concern over the protracted industrial strike by the staff of the country’s Judiciary which they said has negatively affected the dispensation of justice and made scathing attack on President Peter Mutharika for failing to act in his capacity as leader of the country.

President Mutharika: Accused of being passive in resolving the Judiciary strike

President Mutharika: Accused of being passive in resolving the Judiciary strike

The organizations, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) in a joint statement  states that President Mutharika’s wait-and-see or business as usual approach in this whole saga reminisces his leadership style when he was education minister during the academic freedom saga.

“Typical of Prof. Peter Mutharika’s leadership style in the midst of crisis, with the famous academic freedom saga between 2011 and 2012 as an example, the President has been too quite over such a serious issue of national concern which does not only impinge on the citizens’ access to justice and remedies but also derails his government’s professed commitments to come to the bottom of cash gate by ensuring  swift prosecution of all cashgate cases, and in the process winning back public and donor confidence,” reads the statement signed by Gift Trapence of Cedep and Timothy Mtambo of CHRR.

The organizations say much as they appreciate the country’s current worsening economic situation  partly due to the suspension of donor support, they also understand that the current demands from the judiciary are just within the law, and have a strong legal and scholarly backing both domestically and internationally.

The rights activist say the issue of the judiciary strike can be easily resolved if government would consider the findings of Graham study.

“The Graham study, which was commissioned by Malawi Parliament in conformity with section 114 of the constitution and conducted by Graham and Tarr who visited all SADC member states to compare Terms and Conditions of Service for Judicial Officers, revealed that in all SADC member states, Judicial Officers are remunerated differently from the common civil service and that salaries for judicial officers are higher than those in the civil service.”

The right campaigners says in 2012 the Judiciary and executive agreed that whenever the civil service salaries are increased, those of the judiciary including the support staff should automatically go up by the same percentage in order to maintain the same salary gaps between those of the civil service and the judiciary.

“Thus, the Malawi Parliament approved the recommended salaries and since then, Judicial Officers in Malawi have been getting different salaries from the civil service. However, this was not adhered with reference to the September 2014 salary increments.”

They say further say that government needed to have adopted a holistic approach in the September hikes to avoid any section of the society to see itself as being given a raw deal as is the case in the current judicial saga.

“Mindful of such, government should not have proceeded to effect salary hikes for the civil servants if it did not have money, as claimed, since effecting such, as is the case, automatically meant the extension of the same to judiciary.”

The statement says Malawians are waiting for explanations from the leadership on a number of issues; the judicial strike, economic hard situation and the NAC-gate [cash stripping of National Aids Commission] to mention but a few.

“Keeping quiet in the face of these tough moments will not solve anything but it will rather just continue creating wounds in the already wounded citizenry and reveal to us the true leadership credential our current leadership has.   It’s high time the President rose up and demonstrates mature leadership in the current crisis.”

The groups say  the executive arm of government has hence the obligation to amicably engage with the judiciary in order to reach a consensus which ably represents the aspirations of an effective delivery system and respect human rights for all.

The judicial support staff started their sit-in last week demanding a pay rise from the government.

Meanwhile the judges have threatened to join the strike if the government of President Peter Mutharika does not meet the demands of its staff.

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Kwathu ku Malawwi
Guest

Leadership through back door is just like that. This guy is useless and thats why the judiciarly what to cardia arrest him. Soon will be the ACB as the Univercity is aalready in.Chi sollva chimutu chake.

Mande
Guest

Ndiwankulu mchona koma dzelu ndizamwana

Mbowe Mulambia
Guest

APM knows that that was the agreement He is on that sit because of the same judicialy so what do you expect. nzisilu ndi anthu ok so muslire lero zimene timafuna. You will make noise but it won’t help.

lumbart
Guest

Akuluakulu please tisanyozane kukhala Mtumbuka si chifukwa ayi chonde tisanyozane pliz.

wathu
Guest

very weak president

mbengo
Guest
When corruption got out of hand by the ruling elite in Ghana, Jerry Rawling kicked them all out and took over. he conducted fresh democratic elections and made it known that he will not tolerate mediocre leadership. Malawians have been short changed by this self proclaimed leader who came in through the back door. He is corrupt and inept as hell. He is not interested in alleviating the problems our country is facing but rather he is concerned about how much money he can siphon from the treasury. Its high time Malawians took to the streets and demand his resignation.… Read more »
Matako
Guest
The president is the gate keeper, he is the captain of a ship that is going astray. He can not manage issues of national importance remotely by sitting phwii and doing nothing. Yes it is his duty as the leader to steer the country in the right direction. That’s what smart leaders do. Or better yet he needs to lead by example by asking those concerned to sit down and have a conversation as to where our country is going. He seems to think that he can send his stooges around the country to put out fires for him. Sadly… Read more »
Tan'gatan'ga
Guest

Mavutowa amayambila ku Parliament. Ma MP nthawi zonse amaziunjikira malipiro akangolowa uMP. Akatero wina aliyense mboma amafunanso malipilo ache akwere. Kunena zoona, ma MP ambili olo sukulu zilo, koma kufuna kulandila ndalama kuposa wina aliyense.

Chomati ma MP azikhala ndimphavu zozikwezera malipilo zithesedwe. Malipilo aziyenda malinga ndimmene boma likupezela ndalama. Onani pano aziphunzitsi sakulipidwa koma malipilo awo ndi an’gonoan’gono.

John
Guest

Passive leaders dont do anything but atleast they allow their subordinates to lead themselves. The operating word being…..LEAD! The problem is, no one is leading within the APM group! Infact, the mess is just too much that they absolutely have no idea what to do, hence creating more mess on top of the already mess they have.

guardsman
Guest

Am sure we all know how he handles such situations.we knew well before 20th may nde tisadandaule.We also know very well how he handled the deportation of the brittish high commissioner wen he was minister of foreign affairs,nde chonde tisadandaule cos sitinati.anationetsa kale mawanga ake before he was a president and people went ahead and voted for him.do people seriously espect him to change now?

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