Malawi Police and striking judiciary support staff in Blantyre were engaged in running battles, forcing the law enforcers to fire teargas to disperse the staff.
The striking staff said they would only return to work after all their demands are met, snubbing a call by the Judiciary management on Tuesday to return to work or face an unspecified disciplinary action.
After they were teargassed by the police, the striking staff were seen marching to a nearby Malawi Defence Force camp, saying they wanted to seek protection from the teargas trigger happy cops.
However, they came back without the escort of the MDF soldiers and regrouped near the Polytechnic campus.
The registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court Agnes Patemba said the striking staff did not go through the recognized union which deals with labour issues.
In a letter to the striking support staff, the judiciary says the union has not engaged management on the matter.
“The union engages with management and other relevant authorities on issues of concern to judiciary members of staff.
“This process is ongoing. The union however, has not notified management or any other relevant authorities of any dispute,” says the letter from management.
Management says it is only when there is a failure to resolve a dispute that industrial action may be resorted to by the union after following proper procedures.
Judiciary support staff who work for the principal registry and chief resident magistrate in Blantyre on Tuesday started a sit in, threatening the future of the landmark Elections case at the Constitutional Court.
The judiciary support staff have ignored calls from their Labour union leadership to call off the sit in which they called irregular, illegal and unnecessary at this point.
Spokesperson for the union Andy Hariwa said although the working conditions of the judiciary support staff leaves a lot to be desired, the support staff have not followed required procedures to call for the sit in.
The support staff want their conditions of work, as harmonized with those of the judiciary officers, be approved by parliament with immediate effect.
The judiciary support staff are also demanding the resignation of the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and the registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court Agnes Patemba for failing to address the issues.
However, some sections of the society say the sit in has been organised by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to derail the Constitutional Court proceedings of the high profile presidential poll result challenge case underway in Lilongwe.
Some sections of the society say the DPP and the Malawi Electoral Commission feel they do not have a case against the opposition Malawi Congress Party and UTM.
They say they feel the court would order for a presidential election rerun hence employing tactics to put spanners to the proceedings as part of delaying tactics to the case so that president Peter Mutharika and the DPP remain in power, as of now.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :