Malawians may take law in their hands- Law Society

Malawi Law Society president John Gift Makhwawa fears citizens may resort in taking the law into their own hands with no dispensation of justice as the judiciary is completely paralysed following court workers industrial action to press for higher pay and better work conditions.

Although the strike mainly involves the junior staff, the entire court system – from the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Industrial Relations Court to the Magistrates Courts – are completely shut down.

Clerks locate case files, assign court rooms and act as court reporters and stenographers, among other functions.

Makhwawa: Pay the lawful increments

“The strike has very serious implication on the state of peace, on the state of law and order in the country, because people do not have any recourse to the courts,” the MLS president said.

“The temptations are very high for people to take the law in their own hands,” Makhwawa speaking on Capital FM said.

“People will have no option but to resolve differences in their way, their own time in their manner,” the Law society president said.

According to Austin Kamanga, spokesperson of the Judiciary Action Group, the judicial workers are demanding a review in their salaries and other perks that were approved in 2006, when they were promised a 40% pay hike, and in 2009 when they were promised a 50 % hike.

MLS president said government should address the “lawful increments” for the judicial workers as a matter of urgency.

“Government must find money to pay the judicially staff, that’s the solution. The solution is there,” Makhwawa said.

“The question is why is it not being done and I don’t know why is not being done,” he said.

“If there were some personal issues that arose I am sure government would have raised that money,” he noted.

Makhwawa said its high time Malawians took a reflection “and look at the accountability process. We have to look at the priorities government has.”

Judiciary workers were determined to continue with the strike until government meet their demands.

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