Malawi High Court turns into prayer house

The High Court in Blantyre has turn into a prayer house by the striking judiciary junior staff.

The Nyasa Times visit to the premise found the striking staff in prayers, which attracted the attention of passersby.

By the look of things, the judiciary staff, which comprised mostly of court clerks, reporters and messengers, seem to have lost hope of getting any positive response from government.

Nyasa Timesfound the staff camping outside the High Court premises, singing praise and worship songs before two of the male staff ushered in sermons.

Malawi lawyers recently joined the Judiciary junior staff in the sit-in strike

And in an interview with several workers, revealed how frustrated the staff is with the delay by government to raise the K1.2 billion (about $7.2 million) for paying salary arrears dating back to 2006..

One of the workers, who opted for anonymity, disclosed that their issue has been further delayed by the High Court judges who are also pushing for 10 percent increment from government following the devaluation of Kwacha.

“Our judges instead of helping us are busy pushing for their own benefits. Last week, they went to meet government officials with the aim of sorting out the prolonged strike, instead of discussing our issue, they were busy bargaining for their 10 percent increment, which is unfair,” lamented the court clerk.

And one of the workers said the judges were currently demanding government o hike their perks with 10 percent following the devaluation of Kwacha.

“Last week government ordered us to go to work only to find out that they have not resolved our issue and we protested saying we will only go back to work until our issue is sorted out. Now they are just saying they are calculating our perks, but we are yet to see if that is true.”

The strike has paralyzed progress of some of the country’s major cases as many people are still denied justice following the closure of the courts.

Speaking in parliament this week, Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume said striking Judiciary workers did not deserve the salary increment they were fighting for, arguing that their conditions of service are determined by the Judicial Service Commission, not those approved in 2006.

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