No access to justice, Malawi Law Society says govt abusing rights

Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said  one months there has  been no access to justice with the full blown judiciary strike which has paralysed the court operation, saying governments is  is orchestrating the violation of human rights of its citizens and the Constitution.

Kilembe: Human rights are being abused

Kilembe: Human rights are being abused

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. This could not happen, which suggests that there must have been numerous cases of illegal detention and detention without trial.

Lawyers have warned that  a lot of taxpayers’ money will be wasted in civil suits against government on this account.

In addition, the police has said their cells and prisons were reportedly congested causing outbreaks of disease, including TB. Despite this, the Police continued to arrest suspects who were not being granted bail in majority of cases.

MLS secretary Felisah Kilembe this week said there is no one to protect and enforce the Constitution.

“There are no checks and balances on the other two arms of government. Some people’s liberty is being affected by the strike as they are being kept in prison beyond the maximum period allowed by law,” Kilembe said as quoted in the press.

Observers have noted that the country is running without a fully-functioning arm of government, the judiciary –  creating a constitutional crisis.

Court clerks, who began an indefinite strike at the beginning of November, are demanding pay rise and have vowed to keep striking until their demands are met.

The support staff includes court reporters that record all court proceedings, stenographers who transcribe them, court clerks, secretaries and guards.

Justice Lovemore Chikopa, Chairperson of Malawi Judiciary Committee on Conditions of Service said in a letter to OPC  said that failure to address their grievance, they will “proceed to withhold labour.”

The government through a circular proposed a 51 percent increment for the highest paid Judiciary officer at grade P2 and 18 percent for grade M.

The government’s proposal meant that a Judiciary employee who was receiving K151 323 (about $302) at grade PO/CEO would have been at par with a general civil servant at K177 980 (about $355), representing an 18 percent increment.

The Judiciary has rejected the salary hike proposal and Justice Chikopa described the revision as “unacceptable” in a  letter addressed to the secretary for the Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD) dated November 24 2014.

The Judiciary has made a demand of 52 percentage points more on grade PO/CEO, which is held by resident magistrates, 34 percentage points more on grade J, 19 percentage points more on grade M and 17 percentage points more for grade N to P.

Meanwhile, no one knew when the strike might end. The DPP government has shown that it is prepared to wait for a long time before agreeing to resolve critical issues. For example, the main constituent college of the University of Malawi, Chanco remained closed for over eight months in 2011 as lecturers fought for academic freedom.

Minister of Justice and constitutional affairs Samuel Tembenu told a news conference in Lilongwe that government is committed to resolve the impasse as soon as possible.

During former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, the Judiciary also went on strike for three months.

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I2D2
Guest

We need kachacha courts. Rwanda has shown that they are cheap. Awawa akunyadawa saziwa kuti mafumu akhoza kugwira ncthito yawo. Imeneyo ndi constructive resignation. Kodi munamvupo Obama kapena judges akuti akunyanyala ntchito kuti malipilo achepa. Pofunika lamulo likgalepo loti judge amene akunyanyala ncthito kapena wokhali milandu kuposera zaka 10 azichotsedwa ntchito.

Kakha Erutu
Guest

Anthu aku Judiciary musatiumilize kupanga stock kuti tiziwe who is there. We know that there is a certain group of people from a certain part of Malawi who always “cry like babies”. This group thinks they know answers to very problem Malawi has. Musamale!!!!!

kaba ifa
Guest

this is a trynnay of the judges.

mlomwe wachitonga
Guest

madam secretary pls, both sides are violating our rights here. why cant the support staff just accept the increment & continoue serving the impinged tax payers mmalo motaya nthawi kulimbana ndi ma blues as if we are blue eaters. ife sitidya ndale zanuzo

KING SOLOMONS WISDOM
Guest

THE STRIKE IS ILLEGAL.THEY WITHOLD LABOR THEREFORE GOVT MUST WITHOLD THEIR SALALIES.

John
Guest

I REMEMBER THE SAME THING HAPPENDED IN KENYA WHERE JUDGES WERE ASKING OBSCENE SALARIES, THEY WERE ALL FIRED BY PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA. LET PETER DO THE SAME. ASATITOPESE AMENEWA! SCHOOL YAKE ITI?

MKWAPU
Guest

DZIKO
LA MALAWI SIMUZA KHALA MTSOGOLERI WENIWNI

Mzinda
Guest
Everyone knows that most judges are a bunch of lazy people. They adjourn cases willy nilly, without thinking of the financial implications to the litigants. When they attend to cases, they show up at court 3 hours behind schedule. They don’t even have a courtesy to inform the litigants that they will delay or the case will not take place at all. They don’t value the time lost by the litigant. They take years to deliver judgments and some litigants have even died before their judgment could be delivered. Yet, when it comes to workshops, they rush there and even… Read more »
Deleka
Guest
Everyone knows that most judges are a bunch of lazy people. They don’t attend to schedules cases, and if they luckily attend they show up in court 3 hours behind the scheduled time. They don’t mind the value of time for the litigants. Unfortunately such costs are always passed on to the clients. If you are lucky to have your case heard, it takes years to pass judgments and a ,lot of litigants have even died whilst awaiting judgements. Yet surprisingly, when it comes to workshops, these judges never miss a date. They rush to workshops, leaving behind their core… Read more »
Peter Mathanyula Wakuba
Guest
Peter Mathanyula Wakuba

Iwe Kilembe wheres Mambulasa that blue idiot? Mesa he was in the forefront pushing for APMs election! Where is he now? Let him come make these statements that you’re making

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