Malawi repeal injunctions law, pass disability bill

President Joyce Banda government scored top marks on Thursday when it successfully repealed the infamous Injunctions law and passed the Disability Bill in Parliament sitting in the capital city, Lilongwe.

The injunction law – officially known as the Civil Procedure (Suits by or against the Government or Public Officers) Amendment Bill of 2010 – was passed in 2011 during the DPP regime after a heated debate in Parliament.

It was labelled a “bad law” as it essentially grants the Malawian government immunity from ever being sued.

It called for inter-partes hearing whenever an injunction is being sought against any arm of government and further requires that government be given notice of three days before the inter-partes hearing is conducted.

Chiwaya: Happy with passing of Dissability bill

Addressing Parliament, Justice Minister and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara said the Joyce Banda government decided to repeal the infamous Injunction Law following public outcry that government will abuse people as they will have no legal redress starting at injunction level.

The House was stunned when former Cabinet Minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda who praised the Injunctions law, turned around to support the move to repeal it.

“I totally support the repealing of the Injunction law. This is a bad law,” said Vuwa Kaunda.

“You will recall Mr. Speaker Sir, that am one of the then Ministers heavily hit by the passing of this law. On July 20 2011, some people torched down my property in anger over the passing of the bill last year,” said Kaunda attracting boos from the People’s Party government benches.

Kasambara explained that since it has been repealed, the Injunction law is no longer a law.

“Basically, this means that now the right to access justice, the right to injunctions and other forms of relief against government have all been restored to Malawians,” he said.

Legal affairs spokesman of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Alekeni Menyani hailed government for ensuring that the repressive law be scrapped.

But former governing DPP through its House leader Dr. George Chaponda maintained that they brought the ‘bad law’ in the interest of the people.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, when we are in this house we say we represent the people. Am aware that people out there are of the view to maintain the bill because it brought solace to many,” claimed Chaponda.

Late president Bingu wa Mutharika is on record to have expressed concern about injunctions, claiming at one time that Malawi courts have granted more injunctions than any other country in Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Disability Bill

Parliament also passed the Disability Bill, which was drafted several years ago.

United Democratic Front (UDF) leader in the House and MP for Mangaochi central, Clement Chiwaya, said he was delighted with the passing of the bill, saying it will enable persons with disability to ascertain and enforce their rights.

Chiwaya, a former minister of persons with disabilities, said the passing of the bill will mark a paradigm shift in the way persons with disability are treated in the country.

President Banda on April 26 had promised members of Federation of Disability Organisation in Malawi (FEDOMA) that she will make sure the Disability bill is brought to parliament and be passed.

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