Judiciary strike: Legal experts warn of lawsuits against Malawi govt

Legal experts have warned of possible lawsuits against government from the suspects who are being remanded  in custody beyond the constitutional 48-hour period  due to the ongoing strike by the judicial staff.

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company:  Expect civil suits from suspects held beyond 48 hours

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: Expect civil suits from suspects held beyond 48 hours

The court support staff have been on strike for a week now to force government to harmonise salary increments with civil servants, a development that has seen people being denied access to justice.

The Mzuzu based private lawyer George Kadzipatike says the government is doing injustice to Malawians by letting one of its arms paralyzed without finding an immediate solution.

“I can say that we are now in a crisis,” he said, adding “nowhere the flamers of the constitution indicated that one of the three arms of the government would be paralyzed.

“This means that the current situation in which the judiciary is paralyzed is abnormal, therefore there is great need to return it to its normalcy,” said Kadzipatike in an interview with Nyasa Times.

He said there is great possibility that the government would cough a lot of money through compensations should the suspects who are kept in custody beyond the 48-hour period decide to sue the government.

“I don’t think the judiciary strike would be a valid excuse for the illegal keeping of the suspects,” he said.

Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) Victor Mhango also said the strike has made some convicts or suspects to stay in custody illegally due to the expiry of their warrants.

“It is only the courts that renew that warrant once they have expired. Many of those in custody had their warrants expired some time back, so here we can say that prisons are keeping many people unlawfully,” he said.

He said there is no access to justice, which is a constitutional right. Consequently, human rights and the Constitution have been being violated. For example, the Constitution provides that suspects can be detained for only 48 hours within which time they must be brought before a court. Otherwise, they must be released.

He noted  that there must have been numerous cases of illegal detention and detention without trial. It is likely that a lot of taxpayers’ money will be wasted in civil suits against government on this account.

Statistics show that about the number of inmate has risen from the 5,000 to about 13,000 .

Inspector General (IG) of Police Lot Dzonzi has admitted that courts strike has hit the Malawi Police Service hard, creating overpopulation in holding cells, among others.

He said police will be forced to release on bail suspects who have committed minor offences, especially those that will be able to report for bail and can be traced in case they jump bail.

Lawyers, whose work is mainly court-based, have  also been struggling to earn their bread and butter.

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chesta
Guest

people in law and justice should act to protect other sectors as well not when it directly involves there interest only. what about striking teachers. this is not the first time they have reacted like this.

Fathi Alshab
Guest

if ze president swore ti protect ze constitution… why is he watching the judiciary staff saga escalate beyond 48hrs…means he is part of bad behaviiour…why did he say mothing thursday 20nov.. kodi muli ku ndata a bwana kapena kwa dona ku blk….oh kalanga ine a malawi mpaka ana aku primary strike vfor teachers next will be vendors minibus drivers zen cockroches in my hse…

Angozo
Guest

This is nosense and stupid, how can you relate elections and the strike, these are two different things. I think what should the government do is to revise judiciary staff salaries and match them with those of civil service. The judiciary should not have their own salaries they have to go togather with civil service. What special is judicial? Are they have different education academic quakifcations with those in civil service

victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi
Guest
victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi

Yes according to the law. But the victims of those who are in custody have also not received justice. Which court will hear the law suits? The judiciary should be sued. They will be the sued and the judges!!!!

Maliseni
Guest

I agree that the rights of our brothers and a few sisters have been suspended in the absence of Court operations. But on the other hand am fully aware that the lawyers are also sleeping on an empty stomach as they earn between MK 50,000.00 to MK 120,000.00 for every person they support to obtain a bail from court.

I suppose there is no government in the absence of one of the main three arms of the government.

Yokoniya Mankhusu
Guest

Thanks bwana legal expert. can you also extend your advice and tell the nation that workers who do not work for a full month are not entitled to get a salary at the end of the month. As it is government should not pay the court staff who have not worked for a full month or pay them for the number of days they worked. chonde govt do give these people our tax money they dont deserve it, apatseni aphunzitsi akupulayimale. angazolowele kumangodya zaulelele.

Brainfast Mpoto
Guest

Only president can immediate thought the matter,so we could very surprise and wonder if he just watch as we do in the football,otherwise we will reach january end or beyond that so dont trouble innocent suspects in cells because there is no food police cells also police men/wemen can manage to hat food for those who do not have relavives close to stations,thank mr.for reminding them maybe they can tacle the matter.

Abiti Mtila
Guest

How many suspects have spent years on remand without been given bail? Which suspects are you interested in? Who is denying justice who? Who is responsible for the strikes? Muyisovenge! Government is not a human being, it never loses! You can’t fight the government you will never win. Some Cash gaters are funding these protests to delay their court hearings but no matter how long it will take, the law will take its course!

chuwa chimo
Guest

this strike is unfair, i think government should suck all of those who are striking and recruit new ones. A good example is jonathan goodluck, when he sucked large number of doctors who were refusing to attend ebola patients claiming of less recources, but at the end ebola was deafeted in Nigeria. they are many young skilled people in labour market here in malawi suitable for that job.

YOKWIYA
Guest

Who is doing injustice to Malawians, Judicially staff or Government? Is the judicially strike legal? Who is their leader? Did they give the government enough notice for the strike? These judicially staff are holding the Government to a ransom for a purpose. Somebody is behind this action. The best the government can do is to suspend all the striking staff and recruit young school leavers to take up their jobs. Tatopa nawo amenewa. They were given increments not a long time ago now they want another increment just because salaries for civil servants have been adjusted. Usabi chani!!

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