The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has questioned the decision by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration to appoint members of the Judiciary to serve in diplomatic missions.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa said the recent appointments from the Judiciary raise suspicions and speculations, especially the one that involves a judges.
President Chakwera has recently appointed High Court Judges Esme Chombo and Agnes Patemba to serve in foreign missions.
Chombo had her contract recently extended to allow for smooth conclusion of one of the country’s high-profile murder cases that has dragged for over 10 years.
On the other hand, Patemba had recently been promoted to the post of a judge, but Chakwera has now appointed her to serve as the Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
“Malawians are now left wondering as to what becomes of the case of the murder case against Misonzi Chanthunya with Justice Esmie Chombo going away to the Embassy. This is the same judge whose contract was also extended solely to conclude the case of Paul Mphwiyo connected to the Cashgate case.
“This, to say the least, is smelly and unjustifiable. Her contract was extended on grounds that the case is complex and no any other judge would be able to take it unless the trial begins again. Now we have this development, what message is the Tonse administration sending?” asked Namiwa.
He claimed that the development confirms their fear that there is a “big political invisible hand” behind the dragging of this case.
Namiwa said it is unjustifiable for the Tonse Administration to assign Patemba to a diplomatic mission at a time the country needed her services most in fighting sexual and gender based violence.
‘Here is a judge who, in a space of months, has sent the right message to perpetrators of rape and defilement that their days are numbered, but is dubiously being asked to serve the country as an envoy!
“Truth be told, Judge Patemba brought hope that Malawi was on the right path in fighting rape and defilement; hence, only the Tonse Alliance administration knows why and how this appointment is in the interest of the country.
“Without mincing words, the development casts a ray of doubt on the Tonse Alliance administration’s commitment to the promotion of the Rule of Law and access to timely justice,” he said.
The CDEDI boss asked Chakwera to seriously consider reversing his decision, fearing the appointments would cripple the already understaffed Judiciary.
Namiwa reminded the Tonse Alliance administration that the Judiciary is already saddled with a backlog of cases, with some citizens waiting for justice for as long as over 21 years. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied.
“We at CDEDI, would like to ask President Chakwera to reverse such unsound appointments and, instead, consider appointing more judges to the bench. Otherwise, we can safely construe that sending the judicial staff to the foreign missions is a ploy by the current administration to achieve its sinister motives by dangling carrots to people Malawians need more for the creation of a safer country,” he said.
Meanwhile, CDEDI has appealed to the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to critically look at this development, and where necessary, take an action.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :