The Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (Majam) says President Peter Mutharika’s wave of public attacks of the court’s nullification of the May 211 2019 presidential elections -over massive irregularities- is a threat to judicial independence and rule of law.
Majam, a professional grouping of judicial officers, said in statement dated June 7 2020 that the President’s continued attacks on judges are a “vivid display of disrespect for the court judgement” and a threat to not only judicial independence, but to the doctrine of separation of powers as primary characteristic of democracy.
In the statement jointly signed by Majam president Howard Pemba and secretary general Peter Kandulu, the grouping tells Mutharika that the Judiciary is accountable and transparent in the execution of its mandate as exhibited through hearing of all cases in open courts besides basing determinations on relevant facts, evidence and prescriptions of the law.
“We would like to condemn in the strongest terms such continued attacks on the Judiciary by the State President and any conduct bordering on disregard and disrespect of the court’s decision.
“Magistrates and judges are guided by the law and facts at hand while being alert to their oath of office which clearly calls on them to dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will.”
Mutharika during last Friday’s recorded State-of-the-Nation (Sona) address said that Parliament is supreme over courts and persuaded lawmakers to reverse the court ruling that nullified the 2019 elections.
But Majam has dismissed President Mutharika , who is a law professor himself, saying that assertion is misleading the public as only the Constitution is supreme in Malawi.
“There is no parliamentary supremacy in Malawi. We are in a constitutional democracy where the Constitution is supreme,” reads the statement.
Majam has since said President Mutharika continued attacks of the courts has the ability to spur the country into a state of lawlessness should the citizenry opt to emulate the attitude exhibited by the highest office.
Mutharika swore to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law but commentators say his utterances send wrong signals to the public that look to the holder of the office of President as a role model.