Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), an umbrella body for 64 church denominations and 58 Christian organisations, has said that it learnt with great dismay the continued attempts by President Peter Mutharika to undermine the Judiciary.
The Ethics, Peace and Justice Commission (EPJC)– a socio-governance arm of Evangelical Association of Malawi – said in a statement reacting to the Executive’s move to force Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda to immediately proceed on leave, pending retirement.
Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara, in a public notice dated July 12 2020, said government wanted to inform the public that the Chief Justice (CJ) would proceed on leave with immediate effect, pending retirement.
But EAM said the notice was an executive attempt to capture the Judiciary.
“We are reliably informed that the tenure of the Chief Justice Andrew K.C. Nyirenda and Justice Edward Twea runs up to December 2021 and April 2021 respectively. As such they cannot be forced to retire now even if the pending leave days are factored in.
“The Chief Justice cannot go on the bidding of the Executive. It has to be the decision of the Chief Justice to leave early, not imposed on him by the Executive. And the announcement from the Chief Secretary is totally erroneous and it amounts to executive attempts to undermine the independence of Judiciary in order to pursue narrow selfish political interests”, reads the statement signed by Rev. Dr. Zacc Kawalala, the chairperson the EPJC.
The statement goes to say that the decision by Muhara has “no legal effect on Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice Twea and further accuses the Executive through Muhara for meddling into internal human resource management matters of the Judiciary over which the Chief Justice has ultimate authority”.
According to EPJC, the Executive attempts to undermine and capture the Judiciary was just a tip of the iceberg of a bigger political scheme spearheaded by the current President to frustrate the holding of a free, fair and credible elections on 23rd June 2020.
“This observation is further grounded in the fact that the State President has unsuccessfully fought tooth and nail to stop the holding of the fresh elections through delayed firing and reappointment of MEC Commissioners; attacking judges in public; failure to assent passed electoral Bills; and the just recent DPP MPs dissatisfaction with Parliament fixing of the date for the fresh elections.
“ We urge all stakeholders including the Judiciary, Civil Society, Malawi Law Society, faith community, development partners and general public to remain firm and defend our Constitution and democracy in this critical time,” reads part of the.
EPJC then calls for all Malawians to pray that righteousness and justice prevails in the country.
The statement has been endorsed by the following EPJC Commissioners and executive members: Rev. Matilda Matabwa, Rev. Major Makuni Gondwe, Rev. Evans Jeka, Rev. Charles Makata, Rev. Paul Mawaya, and Makhumbo Munthali.
The association urges all stakeholders, including the Judiciary, civil society, Malawi Law Society (MLS), faith community, development partners and entire general public to remain firm and defend the Constitution and democracy in this critical time.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :