Malawi Parliament rebuffs court on blocking NGO regulation law

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament  Esther Cheka Chilenje has said the  High Court order obtained by civils society organisations (CSOs) blocking  the House from debating a contested bill critics say would hamper charities and NGOs while giving government control over their work in the aid-reliant country  is not valid and cannot be served on any legislator while Parliament is meeting.

Deputy speaker Chilenje:   Court order cannot be served while House meeting

.Judge Charles Mkandawire ruled on Monday in favour of activists who had sought the injunction of the NGO Amendment Bill arguing the law would create a “monster regulator” and erode democratic freedoms.

The ruling is temporary pending a full hearing of the case, though no date has been set yet.

Activists from the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for the Development of People, and Youth and Society group also claimed the law was drafted without consulting NGOs.

The First Deputy Speaker said in Parliament on Tuesday that  while the court dully exercised its function,  Section 5 of the National Assembly (Powers and Priviledge) Act,  provides the august House  with immunity from interferenace while in session.

“Therefore, such an order may not be served or executed on Parliament. This was also stressed in the judicial review case of 2012 in which Honourable Dr Chidanti Malunga was being charged with contempt of court,” said Chilenje.

She was responding to Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre West Peter Kumpalume (Democratic Progressive Party – DPP) who suggested  that the courts are interfering  in the works of the Legislature  by granting an injunction to a Bill that was menat to be tabled in Parliament  and asked for guidance.

Centre for the Development of People director Gift Trapence said some of the provisions in the Bill will stifle NGO operations.

“It is a bad and draconian law. It had bad sections that will suppress civil liberties such as the right to association,” said Trapence.

Directors of charities and NGOs who did not comply with the law as drafted would have faced jail terms of up to seven years and fines.

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Kanyimbi
Guest
Kanyimbi

Kodi paja a DPP amakatenga ma injuction ku court oletsa a speaker kutulutsa m’nyumbayi ma MP amalowa ku DPP pogwiritsa ntchito section 65 parliament sinali ikukumana & bwanji a deputy speaker a Mchekawo amabvomera kuti manja awo ndiomangidwa ngati court lilibe mphamvu?

Mwananyanian
Guest
Mwananyanian

Perhaps the learned Judge missed the said stipulations in error. Or could it be that he is too jealous to defend/support the NGOs, without a legal basis?
Let’s face it though: some of these NGOs need to get their wings clipped drastically. ACCOUNTABILITY baasi.
Tikuwaona, ndiponso atikwana.

Papa Chalo
Guest
Papa Chalo

Zambiri mMalawi muno sizikuyenda due to incompetence and ignorance of leaders (Top to bottom). Kaya ndi wa dziko, Organization, Ministry, NGO, you name it.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Shame on so called judges who were only trained to issue injunctions.

Much as we need the government to be accountable, so is the Ngos. If they know they are clean sibwenzi akunjenjemera kuthamangira Kuma bwalo for protection.

Ngos ndi mbava too, who are robbing malawians in the name of protecting them. This is the right time to changes the tables.

Mps both ruling and opposition parties this issue is not about the party, its about Malawians beyond 2030.. Pass this and save malawians
We are count on you.

Napoleon muza
Guest

Kudos to parliament, .Madam deputy speaker, well done. We have not forgotten of corrupt judges, corrupt lawyers who do judge shopping. The learned man should know to respect the other arm of the government. Let this bill be debated and pass it into law. Let the ngos be accountable to the people. The problem they have is that they tow a part in politics, by playing hide and seek in the name of ngos.

Bingu wa Mutharika
Guest
Bingu wa Mutharika

Bravo Parliament! These judges should know their limits

fro
Guest
fro

everyone knows that the ruling party is just trying to block the NGO , your failing to table serious issues like ACB independency then your just looking for NGO which have little influence in Malawian citizen,

fease
Guest
fease

ma cadets just shut up your mouth whom are you educating here,

Fam
Guest
Fam

That’s the beauty of democracy, no interference. Legislature, executive and judiciary have all their separate powers but yet each of them accountable to the people of Malawi. Malawian NGOs must as well be accountable to Malawians. They claim to receive money on Malawians’ behalf. So be accountable to Malawians. And this is what this law demands. I don’t see any problem with that. Any MP cannot support this bill is an enemy of Malawians and very corrupt. This is the best law ever. I don’t care who wins in the next elections. But I support any bill that demands accountability… Read more »

Lulu
Guest
Lulu

How can they support a draconian law. Mxii!!

Phwisa
Guest
Phwisa

Thats the way to go Parliament . Not every Jim and Jack is a representative of everyone. Shame on courts for failing to objectively interpreted laws. Parliament has ably interpreted them. Malawi courts what they know is to issue injunctions

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