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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30 thoughts on “No access to justice, Malawi Law Society says govt abusing rights”

  1. I2D2 says:

    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.

  2. Kakha Erutu says:

    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!!!!!

  3. kaba ifa says:

    this is a trynnay of the judges.

  4. mlomwe wachitonga says:

    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



  6. John says:


  7. MKWAPU says:


  8. Mzinda says:

    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 arrive 2 hours before the official opening. They would rather despise their core duty of hearing cases in favour of workshops. Therefore, why should these lazy and inconsiderate people put everyone at ransom, demanding money yet they don’t give value for money? Why is it that the judiciary is the only organ of government that is not accountable to the people of Malawi? Why should lazy and incompetent judges continue enjoying employment for life, simply because they are in the judiciary? If I were government, I would tell these lazy judges that they don’t even deserve a penny, not even one tambala, because their service delivery is just so poor

  9. Deleka says:

    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 mandate. Further, the judiciary is the only branch of government that is not accountable to the public. The judges have a life term employment even if they may be incompetent. The point I am making here is, it is high time the judiciary gave the public value for money, other than keep on milking the public yet the service delivery is so poor. Judiciary should not hold everyone at ransom.

  10. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba says:

    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

  11. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba says:

    The police can grant police bail in eligible cases. As for the court people, Mesa they helped APM to rig the elections. Let them face the consequences. Muchimina cha blue. What stupidity was this that someone could vote DPP back into power?

  12. DRAKE says:

    These people deserve to be fired because they are impinging on peoples rights, people are being held in police cells for long and because of this criminals are taking advantage of this strike knowing that police force is over streched. I dont think it is right for these people to take Govt to ransom they need proper negotiations to justify their demand for salary adjustment. Government has a right to fire these guys , they are already in the wrong
    by not following the Labour law governing strikes, Govt can use retired Magistrates or they can hire from neighbouring countries like Zambia to come and help us

  13. Billy Wayatsa says:

    Has the Executive Arm of government Peter Mutharika and his cabinet reduced its salaries and perks ? If not why ask the Judiciary not ask more money? DPP do not forget you promised civil servants more money and please pay them. If you fail, know that you cheated and you must resign.

  14. Boss says:

    Muyisova ndiyetsa mmamusaporter nokha kuti akhale pa mpando .Panopa muwona za Chancer College zija za eight months osateketseka mulira mutopa nokhatu iye sizikumukhudzatu.

  15. m'bantu says:

    Judiciary kumadzitenga ngati ma untouchables.Kalaliki wa form 4 kufanana pay ndi graduate teacher? nonsense! Kodi a CHIEF JUSTICE alibe powers on these issues?

  16. wakukaya says:

    You Judges are foolish you made him win at mid-night.Muwona.Ask Kenyata Nyirenda the devil.

    1. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba says:

      MAWU !!!

  17. Loya says:

    Malawi Law Society
    I am a member of this animal called MLS and I must say am angry and annoyed to be a member of this useless organization!

    At times it is better to understand the circumstances before making empty noises based on the fleeting concepts of justice etc. How can the country be run with some sector imposing itself that they get more than anyone or else they withhold public services…in any case, I personally dont think the members of the bench need any increments…the work they do is below par and they are already paid more than anyone! SHOOT ME

    1. Master says:

      if u r indeed one of the legal minds, then my hope is now revived about this profession that we still have some sober minds congrats boss, i admire ur brevity ankolo

    2. naligonje says:

      A loya,,,
      Do u understand the issues at stake??I dnt know where u did ur law but I guess as a lawyer u need to appraise urself of the issues in contention before uttering any nonsense. I dnt kno whether u r a practising lawyer because if u were one, u shud be in the know of how much work judicial officers do,,,but from ur comment I glean, u must be a desk lawyer and I guess u did ur law in Zanzibar not in malawi.
      That said, I must say the judiciary is not demanding anything novel. There was an agreement in 2012 between govt and judiciary that the salaries of judiciary will no longer be revised according to the old system but that any time govt increases the salaries of civil service, at the same time and with the same rate salaries of judiciary will be revisited…so wat is the problem here???why z the judiciary blamed for demanding something that z on the paper??
      For ur own information, to say that salaries of judiciary are higher than those in other govt department is not an issue here…we have so many govt departments where salaries are even higher than in the judiciary,,check salaries for lawyers in law commission, ministry of justice, legal aid, and compare them to a lawyer in judiciary especially senior resident magistrate. You will discover that in the judiciary a lawyer is least paid,,,if harmonisation of salaries is anything to go by, then that is welcome development but it must be all govt departments and not judiciary only,,,

      So Mr lawyer,,don’t just act on emotions follow the issues and then comment

      1. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba says:

        Who cares? You idiots helped APM rig the elections. Muchiminaaaaaa!!

      2. Ineyo says:

        What a good reply by naligonje, i just don’t appreciate and undersand why attacking law graduates from Zanzibar as if you are sure the comment was from them. Even if it was made from one graduate from zanzibar, it would be only prudent to attack the comment, not the law school, as there are many from the same school who might as well be of the same view as yours sir.
        Thank you

  18. damalekani says:

    Kodi siinu a ma court munapangisa kuti galu ameneyi awine? Mesa ine ndiamene munkapereka ma injunction usiku ndi usiku… Dyera lakula pa malawi munamuwinitsa nokha ndiye muone zomwe agalu amenewa amapanga. Zoopsa zikubwera kutsogoloku. Ndalama ivuta molapitsa.

    1. DRAKE says:

      Iweye ukuona ngati nkanizi zikugwirizana? wautsiru iwe eti.

      1. Peter Mathanyula Wakuba says:

        Olo mukwiye a Drake. Mukumvabe pain anyani inu.

  19. fkr says:

    Fire them and let them see where in the worlds poorest nation with unemployment at 70% where are they going to get a job.

    It’s an illegal strike so get rid of the rubbish and replace with people that wasn’t to serve and build the nation not bring it down like these clowns

  20. Tangantodya says:

    Boma lichitepo kanthu mofulumira kuthetsa strike. Abale athu akuvutika mu prison cell.

  21. Wakumudzi says:

    Afune asafune m wapase basi ajudicial kip it up msafoile ndipo ajudiciary boma sinawapasepo mwatende ndalama .

  22. o'Betha says:

    Palibe anthu ozikonda ngati a Judiciary. Freeze their salaries for not working.
    If truth be told, I would rather Government considered increasing salaries of teachers and health workers. Their input has direct impact on all taxpayers. Surely not Judiciary.

    1. Malunza says:

      Let the judiciary fight for their rights. Inuyo pangani zanu. More fire judiciary…..

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