A leadining daily newspaper in Malawi has used its editorial comment on Thursday to accuse President Peter Mutharika of ‘playing double standards” over his protest against growing number of injunctions being issued by the courts.
Mutharika said at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre yon Tuesday during the swearing-in of the two newly appointed High Court judges Jack N’riva and Thomson Ligowe, that some of the injunctions as “unreasonable and irresponsible”.
But legal scholars have pointed out in a story carried by The Nation newspaper of Thursday that it is not the first time the presidency has complained about injunctions. Mutharika’s brother, the former president late Bingu Wa Mutharika also expressed the frustrations on the matter and his administration, which had almost same machinery like that of the incumbent, passed a controversial law barring injunctions against government, but was later repealed during Joyce Banda’s administration.
In its editorial comment, the paper pointed out that an injunction is a remedy that a complainant gets from the court and that “it is a right that should not Ben tampered with.”
The paper said Mutharika’s complaint “smacks of double standards”, saying the President could be suggesting that the injunctions are erroneously granted or they the Judiciary is incompetent and indifferent to the situation and that would be “undermining another arm of government.”
It backed the Judiciary, saying injunctions are granted “on merit”.
And legal scholars – Professor Danwood Chirwa, Mwiza Nkhata and Sunduzwayo Madise – said in comments quoted by the paper that President Mutharika’s comments were unfortunate and a threat to the morality and independence of the judicial officers, a view shared by Malawi Law Society honorary Secretary General Micheal Goba Chipeta.
Chirwa, based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, is quoted saying the President “has used and abuse the injunctions law to his own benefit when it suited him.”
Dr Madise, who teaches law at Chancellor College of the Universitybof Malawi, said the courts Do not just issue injunctions Willy-milky.
“Courts do not decide on cases on their own. They are asked by litigants. And even where they are moved, courts do not just issue injunctions. they must be satisfied that the circumstance warrant the granting of an injunctions,” he said in quotes reported by the paper.
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