A ruling on judicial review case on the attempt to send on forced leave pending retirement Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea, High Court has faulted the country’s immediate former president Peter Mutharika for attempting to mislead Malawians that Parliament is supreme over courts.
Mutharika made the remarks in his last State-of-the-Nation (Sona) address to Parliament in June this year when he persuaded lawmakers to reverse the court ruling that nullified the 2019 elections.
But judge Charles Mkandawire in his ruling dismissed Mutharika , who is a law professor himself, saying his assertion was misleading the public as only the Constitution is supreme in Malawi and that give all the three arms of government – the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature – equal separate statuses.
“With due respect, I see nowhere in the Constitution of Malawi or any other law in Malawi where it said that Parliament is more supreme above the court,” said Mkandawire in his ruling which was delivered last Thursday in Lilongwe.
The judge said Mutharika “deliberately wanted to mislead the citizens of Malawi.”
He said what Mutharika said in his Sona “has no grain of truth at all.”
On his part, Sunduzwayo Madise, dean of the Faculty of Law at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, agreed with the judge that Mutharika was deliberately misleading Malawians.
He said Mutharika’s remarks were made “intentionally”.
While Malawian law expert based at University of Cape Town in South Africa, Professor Danwood Chirwa, asaid the ruling would deal with “an obvious Executive encroachment in the independence of the Judiciary.”
Chirwa said if Mutharika was to be asked about Constitutional supremacy now, he would readily admit that he was “talking nonsense” at the time.
Mutharika lost the fresh election to President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who teamed up with UTM Party president and the country’s then estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :