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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51 thoughts on “Malawi rights groups hit at ‘passive’ Mutharika on judicial strike”

  1. 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.

  2. Mande says:

    Ndiwankulu mchona koma dzelu ndizamwana

  3. 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.

  4. lumbart says:

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

  5. wathu says:

    very weak president

  6. mbengo says:

    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. We can not sit phwii and expect an inept useless APM resign on his own. He will not. We need to show him the door.

  7. Matako says:

    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 they are misguided hand clappers who think they have been given powers to effect change. Mr president if you can not govern just resign we can hold fresh elections. We want justice to be served and our looted re3sources recovered to help our weakening economy. Remember you came in through the back door. Now the chickens have come home to roost just as they did during your brother’s second term. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  8. Tan'gatan'ga says:

    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.

  9. John says:

    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.

  10. guardsman says:

    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 people seriously espect him to change now?

  11. changamtuwa says:

    No 27 is nkhanga yenecho. Why always against mtundu wina. U seem to hv less than 46 chromosomes in ur cells. This is mw.

  12. Mwenye says:

    Why blaming the President for all problems in Malawi? Malawi’s problems are not Mutharika’s problems! They are but for us Malawians to provide solutions. Lets stop this type of thinking right away. Lets leave the president to lead us in implementing the solutions to our problems and not expect him to be a solution at all times. NGOs and CSOs must stop misleading Malawians to think the president is a solution to national problems. The CSOs must be first to suggest solutions that are in the best interest of all Malawians.

    1. The Patriot says:

      That is why we voted him into office! To find solutions to our problems! If he cannot find them , then the door is open! Resign!!

    2. Zalewa Roadbrock says:

      @ Mwenye

      The question we are going to ask you fellow Malawian is that “does he look to be a person with solutions to our problem? You may wish to know that in as far as many Malawians are concerned he is actually our problem. wamva.

    3. vindere says:

      Sekulu leadership is all about taking the heat and then contain it. There’s no walk over when it comes to leadership.You have to learn to take the blame because all eyes are on you.

    4. Thumbwefu says:


  13. Kakha Erutu says:

    Kodi anthu inu amene mukudzitcha ma champion a human rights umbuli wanu udzatha liti? Do not expect the president to behave like you – “ACTIVISTS”. There are structures (and people) put in place to deal with such issues as striking staff. Ndiye ndi umbuli wanuwo mukufuna kuti the whole president apite azikalimbana ndi ma strikers. Mukuona ngati APM amaganiza mopepela ngati inu?

    shupiti zanu nonse

    1. Jabulosi says:

      The Buck stops at his door step!!!!!!

    2. Choonadi says:

      @ kakha Erutu

      If this is the kind of leadership you think we should have in this country then your man is irrelevant. He is the “president” and the question that you should be asking yourself is if the current situation does not call him to action then why is there then?. This is the kind of leadership that he provided when he was Minister of Education and you and I know what happen during the academic freedom saga and how long it took saga the saga to come to a close?. Do you really a repeat of that scenario?. Get life sycophant

  14. lumbart says:

    Munthuyu zamukulira mwina a funse kwa mackson Mbendera ampatse nzeru paja anabela limodzi mavoti
    The president is too quiet such that it pains us to see a head of state kungokhala ndwiii ngati amumeta pa nthawi yamavuto ngati imenei.

    The best thing for him is to resign galu ameneyu wakanika. Koma kukakhala kuba ndalama ku nac he acts very fast. Kuvota molakwika a Malawi anzanga simmati chimanga chimanga ndi chimenechi tiye nazoni kaya ndiku matcha Bola achoke

  15. The judicial staff consider themselves special. Ma salary a December asalandile amenewa muona kubwela injunction kuchokera kumakhothi komweko. Dont pay them.

    1. Choonadi says:

      @ Genuine patriot

      Aren’t you not a GENUINE FOOL AND IDIOT?

  16. Anaphiiiii says:

    Mukanakhala inu presidet mukanatani, mukanakweza salary mulibe ndalama?

  17. Fathara says:


    1. vindere says:

      Zakuwawatu, dikila suwunati. Unya uwona ndipo ukomokela limodzi ndi Pitala wakoyo.

  18. zizwani says:

    He failed to run Education Ministry in the wake of Academic Freedom saga, he failed again as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the wake of the chasing of the British High Commissioner, Mr Fergus Cochrane-Dyet. And the trail now continues in the capacity of the highest office. Really looking at this background, are we sure Malawians did not know Peter’s leadership limitations by voting him into office? Putting into the highest office someone who failed to run 2 ministries and his ministries witnessed the west sagas in history at his nose. It just shows Malawians did not vote the right person with the best CV into the highest office. In Malawi, character and personal record do not matter but tribal alignment. Umbuli unachulukitsa and don’t cry these are your own mistakes and preferences.

  19. Biso na Biso says:

    Do not expect anything meaningful.

  20. Tifose says:

    Cedep comments are regrettable and lacks logical reasoning typical of CSO with no focus. Cedep needs to know that the High Court has its administration that has to put the House in order and the very Admin at HC works with higher office on such issues. Its illogical for for President to handle high court issues directly. CSOs have been calling for Presidents’ office to segregate powers and when it bites you want the president to assume all the powers. The question is how far has the leadership at high done with the issue?

    We seem to require power when all is smooth, yet when demanding issues arise
    everybody wants the President to act, the same old thinking. When will Malawians grow with this kind of thinking?

  21. Ngozo says:

    But what are the advisors doing? Could it be that they fear him or are they just also passive advisors? So many things are going offside like there is no leader in this country. He could at least talk with some representative of the judiciary to show that they are trying to sort out the issue.

  22. chilungamo says:

    Malawi is fast approaching anarchy levels someone has to come in to control this unfortunately for us is the president is the one who should do this alas he is dormant working business as usual not even a single day he tried to address the nation on the status quo, may be someone up there should knock sense in Him that He is holding a highest position in the land and should wake up in his deep slumber.

  23. Vigodova says:

    Kodi how special are these judges. why should they have separate pay as special lambs?are they better Malawians these corrupt fellows deserve equal pay. Viva mr.president what u can do is use ur powers to suspend or amend the said constitution for judicially so that they are at part with anybody secondly speedup creating Public Remuneration Board to handle all salaries on equal footing same grade equal salary to save the economy otherwise dyera nkhwidzi za judiciary very dangerous don’t dare to give them iyaa lets we all join

  24. Billy Wayatsa says:

    This man was teaching at a private college in Washington State.
    He was conferred the Professorship by friends over beer at Satemwa Tea Estate.
    He reads his speeches when a professor does not do that.
    Please check how he delivers his speeches like a brute.

  25. chakhalira says:

    I find this Judicial strike very very strange and disturbing. Parliament inabvomereza kuti zizitero, so what is the matter here? As days go by, we are told the Judges may also join the strike for this salary increase. Wait a minute! Did we not hear that our President is the Professor at Laws? Or do we say Professor of Laws???? Which ever is the case. Does this strike border on any Law (s)? If yes or no, is there any Law to this regard that our Professor does not know or understand? Or Is it a matter that he is a Professor, but does not realy know which Law to apply in this matter? Why not Consult? I believe using A Gogo Goodall Gondwe will not solve this. Kungokana kukweza ma Judicial salaries, a Gogo Gondwe, this may not solve this impasse.

    By the way, has our President so far demonstrated any Good Leadership Qualities in the days we have been with him? Not to me. After all where does he get wisdom to solve this impasse popeza anakana ku lumbirira Bible akulu awa? He needs wisdom to handle this matter.

    May God help us!

  26. Cmon says:

    i dont support dpp,but the argument given above that the judiciary must be given more than anybody else despite their low education is so sick,go anywhere and see if say,doctors recieve less than lawyers,go ask,i think in malawi we are used to abnormal ways of doing things,to me a judge is just a lawyer with mostly first degree,how should they recieve more than people like doctors who went to school more than them?,doctors who work for more hours than them? on what basis realy? which sadic country does that happen? this argument is funny,lets complain that overall all gvt employees get not enough,dont start bringing in the sick argument that the judiciary must get more than anybody else in gvt,you will make real important people like health workers angry and we all know the results if doctors and nurses were to strike just like judges do,if every gvt employee was to get what they deserve like the outside contries do,judges and lawyers would not be getting this much,they would be at the bottom of the ladder,go figure inu a Human rights,but because in malawi we follow abnormal ways of doing things,thus y the salary scales follow the same mediocrity,thus y the judiciary now are demanding to be on top of everybody

  27. Muropwana says:

    Fisi amakhalabe fisi olo asinthe tchire . He is the same man who was Minister of Education , minister of Justice, etc . And some people still decide to vote for him as State President …….. .

  28. Matokoso says:

    Malawi has stagnated in the last 50 years because of adopting study after study findings/recommendations willy nilly. I think its time to approach issues with a sober mind and as well live within our means

  29. Chichi says:

    Those who are supporting this leadership they don’t know how hard life is becoming to the poor people in the villages. I believe its high time the president address us for better future lather than just remaining quite which is nonsense.

  30. we missed the real target and we come up with nothing

  31. Let us be honest here. What is special with Judiciary to be above everybody? Is this you human right activists what you call justice? That somebody with a lower grade and qualification should receive extremely higher salary becoz is in Judiciary and somebody with higher grade and qualification should receive very low salary because he is not in Judiciary? This is stupidity at its best. I cannot trust human rights activists anymore. You are full of shit. Peter and Saulos are good leaders. I strongly support their stand and dream of seeing the civil service harmonised in terms of salaries. Equal pay for equal grade that is what we want and that is justice. In fact, I don’t believe there is justice in our courts. If you tell me that greed has taken control of the whole judicial system, well, I would totally agree. It’s all about greed. Bravo Peter and Saulos, tell the strikers to resign and go seek employment where there is plenty of money that can satisfy their devilish desires. Resign please!!!!! As a country we can employ new officers from labourer to Judges. We have many of them here and u are not special. We do not need u mwatikwana a satana inu.

  32. Patriot says:

    Mulungu anatipatsa zizindikiro zoti uyu SANGAYENDETSE DZIKO.
    It took only 5 months for God to expose his INCOMPETENCE.
    Malawi’s economy has SUNK dip down the ocean, and what does his excellence the professor of law doing? Nothing.
    Why? He is CLUELESS as he has always been (Academic Freedom in my mind).

  33. Sidix says:

    He failed to resolve(to stop) the academic saga at UNIMA together with his brother. Nine months elapsed before he could end the strike till the demise of his brother.How do U expect him to be prompt in ending the strike this time?If all Proffessors were like him,I don’t know how it could have been! Alomwe muthandidzeni President wanuyu!Ndalama munadya zija za NAC ndizothandidzira ntchito yothetsera matenda a AIDS/HIV,bwedzani!

  34. mlomwe wachitonga says:

    zikatere zikulowera kuti. poor Malawians are suffering, zinthu zakwera pls resorve some of these impasses life shud go on

  35. CNN says:

    Mutharika is a mistake to the nation. Mbendera & the courts made him president at midnight to the detaste of 64%. Mutharika failed to run mere ministries but some mediocre voters decided to vote for an imbicile. What a shame! No matter how much you want push this mock president to act he won’t do anything. APA PALI MAVUTO-APM DPP woyeee! Boma iloo!

  36. matchonisa says:

    M unthu ngati analephera uminister wa Edn, wa Justice and u entrust him with the responsibility of running the same country. Koma alomwe. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

  37. mbuzi says:

    Seriously, I never saw this coming. :O !!

  38. Peter Muthalika is too casual as a leader. The big man just wanted to top job for a future state funded funeral and not to take Malawi to a different level. I condemn the judiciary for their demands. Bakili Muluzi brought the problem of favouring other sections of the civil service by turning them into commissions leaving others like teachers as non essential staff. Now these other favoured sections do not welcome the harmonization of salaries. Kamuzu treated all civil servant equally. The judges are the most arrogant group of people and yet their services leave a lot to be desired. The judiciary and their support are not doing enough to help the poor people get justice. This must change and leadership must show seriousness. We can’t allow such an impasse. I remember it took 3 months for the judiciary strike to end in 2012 and another 3 months for services to normalize in that strike. I can see similar things happening with Peter Muthalika, the lawyer. He is lazy. He is too casual and possibly knows his life is short considering his age. His kids are in America. The I don’t care approach is very much in Peter Muthalika. We should have given him the votes if we take rigging out of the equation.

  39. gastom says:

    the constitution needs to be changed- no President over the age of 60!! look at the disasters of Kamuzu, Bakili, Bingu JB and now this old guy!! the brain stops functioning over the age of 60!! he cannot think and he also has an OLD wife- from Balaka of ALL places-the capital city of idiocy and depravity!! JB was also old with a OLD geezer as a husband-you saw what happenned- i rest my case!!

  40. Peter Muthalika is too casual as a leader. The big man just wanted to top job for a future state funded funeral and not to take Malawi to a different level. I condemn the judiciary for their demands. Bakili Muluzi brought the problem of favouring other sections of the civil service by turning them into commissions ldaving others like teachers as non essential staff. Now these other favoured sections do not welcome the harmonization of salaries. Kamuzu treated all civil servant equally. The judges are the most arrogant group of people and yet their services leave a lot to be desired. The judiciary and their support are not doing enough to help the poor people get justice. This must change and leadership must show seriousness. We can’t allow such an impasse. I remember it too 3 months for the judiciary strike to end in 2012 and another 3 months for services to normalize in that strike. I can see similar things to have with Peter Muthalika, the lawyer. He is lazy.

  41. chatty man says:

    This man is too weak to govern this country! The Clock is ticking! Yah heard Malawians!!!!

  42. MADUKA says:



  43. Alungwana says:

    He failed to run a ministerial post, how did you entrust him with a presidency?

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