The Judiciary, a key arm of government, has asserted that Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda shall continue to discharge his duties together with other Justices of Appeal (JAs) “ as per their Constitutional mandate”, despite the Executive ’s pushing Nyirenda for forced leave, pending retirement.
In a statement, signed by High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Agness Patemba has contradicted the notice filed by Chief Secretary in the Office of President and Cabinet, Lloyd Muhara that Chief Justice Nyirenda had accumulated more leave days than the remainder of his working days to his retirement date.
But the Judiciary statement clarified: “As a matter of fact, the accumulated leave days for the Honourable the Chief Justice and Honourable Justice [Edward] Twea are less than what is mentioned in the letters by the Chief Secretary if calculated in accordance with the Conditions of Service for Judicial Officers.”
The Judiciary statement said Nyirenda and other JAs have accumulated leave days over the years because they were prevented from taking all their entitled leave days due to “exigencies of their office.”
Patemba said in a statement that Justice Anthony Kamanga will retire September 2020; Justice Jane Ansah retires October 2020, Justice Twea retires April 2021; Justice Dustan Mwaungulu retires June 2021; Justice Anacklet Chipeta retires July 2021 while Chief Justice Nyirenda retires December 2021.
In case of Ansah, the statement said she opted to apply leave pending retirement.
It also said Mwaungulu is stuck in United Kingdom and cannot travel back home due to the lockdown travel restrictions.
“Other Justices of Appeal of the remaining seven have been prevented from proceeding on leave on the accumulated leave days to ensure that the Supreme Court of Appeal business should not stall,” reads part of the statement.
Patemba said regarding the succession plan for the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Judiciary wrote the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on February 11 2020, requesting funds to initially appoint four JAs.
“We equally sought authority from the office of Depart of Human Resources and Management Development and also engaged the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, to lobby for funds to appoint the four Supreme Court of Appeal Justices.
“Government responded that it had no funds to appoint four Justices of Appeal,” reads the statement.
Meanwhile, the High Court of Malawi on Sunday granted two separate orders stopping the process to have Chief Justice Nyirenda proceed on leave pending retirement.
a public notice dated June 12 2020 from Muhara—a judge of the High Court on secondment to the Executive— states that the Chief Justice should proceed on leave to clear his days pending retirement and that his replacement would be appointed in due course.
Muhara’s notice has drawn a backlash from various stakeholders, including legal scholars, the Evangelical Association of Malawi and the Association of Magistrates in Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :