Malawi’s flagship daily, The Nation, has described the collapse of talks between the Executive arm of government and the Judiciary as “disappointing” and that one of the parties is not negotiating in good faith.
As earlier reported by Nyasa Times , the Judges and magistrates on Monday rejected a 22 percent salary increment offer and pulled out of negotiations with government, raising fears of crisis in the judiciary.
The development also comes barely a month after the end of seven-week judiciary support staff strike that paralyzed the operations of the judiciary between November and December last year.
The Judiciary is demanding 110 percent increment for Supreme Court Judges, 78 percent for High Court Judges and registrars, among other categories.
Government is said to have told them that it does not have money, hence a 22 percent increment offer.
Meanwhile, judges and magistrates from across the country have agreed to take the matter to Parliament, and if nothing happens, sue individual government officers who were involved in the negotiations, according to judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula.
The collapses of talks comes at a time when there has been some positive outcomes from negotiations surrounding public sector strikes that gave hope that the labour disputes situation was stabilizing, according to the paper.
“So, when talks with other institutions were concluded fairly successfully, why have they failed with the Judiciary who have since rejected a 22 percent salary hike offer, unilaterally suspended talks, threatened to take the matter to Parliament and sue one by one individuals they deem problematic to the execution of their demands?,” says the paper in its editorial comment.
The paper, which won 2014 Misa-Malawi Print Media House of Year Award, also observed that one of the parties could not be negotiating in good faith and “does not appear to cede a consequential part of their bargaining position”.
“As a result, the talks have not gone anywhere,” it adds.
However, it commended the Judiciary’s approach that will “directly target those they are negotiating with” while seeking Parliament’s intervention.
“This fairly reasonable approach notwithstanding, it is also in the interest of the nation that there exists no animosity between the two important branches of government-certainly not at a time they should work closely as a team to deliver better services to Malawians, including the reforms agenda.
“We cannot begin to imagine what kind of a country this would be without the rule of law. For example, can we attract investment in a country where there is no guarantee that contracts will be enforced?
“How then do we expect to achieve higher economic growth rates and more revenue (currently being under-collected) if we cannot create the right environment for businesses to operate without misgivings and contribute to the tax kitty enough money to afford the higher perks we are seeking?
“We, therefore, urge a quick resolution to the package bickering,” says the paper.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :