Former president Peter Mutharika and former secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara will have to dig deeper from their pockets to pay costs incurred in a case the two are accused of forcing Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda go on retirement.
Justice Charles Mkandawire has delivered the landmark ruling this Friday, a ruling which will set precedence for those in the executive arm of government to observe the separation of powers.
Mkandawire ruled that Mutharika and Muhara should settle the costs personally to the claimants who are Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Women Lawyers Association, Magistrates Association and the Malawi Law Society.
“…the respondents [Mutharika and Muhara] had acted defiantly, were unreasonable, were not prudent, acted outside their Constitutional mandate and very wanting,” says Mkandawire in his ruling.
Added judge Mkandawire in his determination: “As it was already submitted by the applicants’ counsel, the two respondents are well seasoned lawyers.
“One a professor of constitutional law. The otjer a Judge of High Court. They should have been very conversant with fundamentals of the constitution and in particular issues of separation of powers and judicial independence.
“This is a proper case where professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and Justice Lloyd Muhara should be personally liable to pay costs.
“I so order,” reads the judgment in part.
Mkandawire has ordered the registrar of the High Court to assess the costs.
Ironically, Muhara is a judge of the High Court while Mutharika is a professor of law.