Malawi Police disperse striking judiciary workers at High Court

Malawi Police on Friday raided High Court premises across the country where they dispersed judiciary support staff, who downed tools over house allowances and harmonization their conditions of service.

Judiciary strike:  Judiciary staff including magistrates and judges, have taken the action to force government to implement payment of housing allowances approved by Parliament in 2012, other benefits and arrears dating back from July 2016.

The judiciary support staff downed tools to push the Treasury to give them housing nb allowances and also harmonize their conditions of service with those of judicial officers.

Since the sit-in started mid last month, justice seekers and court users had no access to the High Court premises and it’s subordinate courts nationwide.

The nationwide strike has crippled the judicial services across in the country.

The striking judicial support staff include court clerks, court marshals, drivers, interpreters and court reporters.

For instance in Blantyre, disgruntled support staff closed the entry to the Judiciary Complex with stones and tree branches. People and vehicles were being blocked from entering the premises.

The Judiciary Complex was apparently reduced to some ‘worship center’ and a theatre for out-door and board games with worship songs, intercessions, football and disco taking center stage.

But on Friday it was a different story as the law enforcers raided the premises to disperse the support staff from the High Court premises.

The support staff were being told to proceed with the sit-it elswhere or in their respective homes, not at the court premises.

This came barely few days after government described the sit-it as illegal and stated that it will not bow down to their demands.

In a letter, signed by Ben Botolo, Secretary to the Treasury, government will not change its stand on the matter and that has no obligation to make the claimed payments.

The letter, addressed to Nyirenda Msisha and Company and copied to Ritz Attorneys, further said any form of settlement in relation to the claim is unacceptable.

“Government believes the strike is illegal and unless the employees return to work, it shall be compelled to take action within the law,” reads the letter in part.

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