Private practice lawyer Khumbo Bonzoe Soko says the High Court order that former president Peter Mutharika and former Chief Secretary to Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Lloyd Muhara should pay from their pockets costs incurred in a case the two are accused of forcing Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda go on retirement.
is a great decision for accountability of those who hold powers of state.
The High Court, on Friday, ordered Mutharika and Muhara to personally pay costs in a judicial review matter for their attempt to send Chief Justice on a forced retirement.
Both Mutharika and Muhara were dragged to court over the matter by Human Right Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Association of Magistrates in Malawi and Malawi Law Society (MLS).
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Soko—who represented HRDC—says the ruling sends a message that impunity and arrogance have a cost.
“For a very long-time public functionaries have behaved as if they are above the law and scrutiny.
“Safe in the knowledge that the public will pick up the tab for redressing harm, ironically caused to the public itself. This will begin to drive home the truth that there is no longer any safety in that belief.”
In his ruling, justice Charles Mkandawire pointed out that Mutharika and Muhara had acted “defiantly, were unreasonable, were not prudent, acted outside their Constitutional mandate and very wanting.”
Mkandawire has ordered the registrar of the High Court to assess the costs.