The on-going judicial workers strike has paralyzed progress of some of the country’s major cases including that of headline-grabbing Thyolo North parliamentarian Annita Kalinde, which was slated for hearing on Thursday, January 12.
Apart from Kalinde’s controversial case, the on-going strike has also affected civil activists Ben Chiza Mkandawire, Billy Mayaya, Brian Nyasulu and Habiba Osmna case of holding a placard which read ‘President Bingu wa Mutharika is a dictator.’
The judicial strike has also paralysed the case of 40 arrested Lilongwe vendors who are currently still in police custody.
Kalinde was expected to return to court Thursday for judicial hearing on the injunction she obtained last year stopping Parliament from suspending her.
During the last meeting of Parliament in November last year, Kalinde attacked Minister of Defense Aaron Sangala during one of the deliberations following provocative remarks Sangala is said to have made about Kalinde.
“The strike has put my client’s case in awkward position. The case was expected to finish before the next meeting of the Parliament, and this means that justice is been delayed for my client because it iss not known when the courts will resume normal operations,” explained Kalinde’s lawyer Wapona Kita.
According to Kita the strike that has grind to a halt all judicial operations national wide, has also created uncertainties over the hearing of civil activists’ case, which is expected to return to court Friday.
And some of vendors in Lilongwe have issued a warning of another protest if the authorities will not release the arrested 40 vendors.
However, it is not clear if the police will set them free any time soon due to the closure of the courts which are expected to serve justice on the vendors.
The country’s judicial courts-High Court, Magistrates courts and Industrial Relations Courts-remain closed as the workers including judges and magistrates are demanding government to put into effect 2006 approved conditions of service, which will see government paying the workers millions of kwacha in salary and allowance arrears.
According to Judiciary workers union representative Austin Kamanga the strike will only put to an end until government start implementing the new conditions of service that will in return make wage bill for judicial workers increase.
Kamnga said court operations will resume only if government implement the new condition of service.
“People have to know that the strike is arrived following several meetings with relevant authorities including Ministry of Labour. There will be no court cases, no judges and no magistrates to serve the public until the issue of condition of service is sorted out,” Kamanga said.
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