NGO Bill Case: Court grants CSOs wish for judicial review

The High Court in Lilongwe has sustained an order  for Judicial  Review in a case  in which some civil society organisations (CSOs)  obtained an injunction to stop government from tabling the controversial Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)Act (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.

Judge Charles Mkandawire:  Ruled in favour of the CSOs

The Bill was supposed to be tabled during the just-ended Parliament sitting only to be foiled by  the CSOs who sought a court injunction.

In a judicial review case number 4 of 2018 between Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation Centre (CHRR), Youth and Society  (YAS) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep), against Parliament and Leader of Government in the House, the CSOs asked for a leave for judicial review of the decision to table the bill, describing it as draconian and evil.

Judge Charles Mkandawire in his determination dated December 18 2018 seen by Nyasa Times, granted  an order stopping the tabling of the Bill following an ex parte application and ruled that the  “substantive matter” to come for hearing on  January 8 2019 in his Chambers.

The Judge said  the CSOs have raised “an arguable case” which should go for a full inquiry.

“Having heard the arguments from both parties, I am satisfied that each case has to be looked at  as it stands,” reads the Judge’s determination in part.

“Much as I do agree with the Attorney General that the only section thatthe Claimants have cited is Section 43 of the Constitution which deals with administrative action, I am of the view that the court should have full arguments on merit from both sides in order to come up with an informed decision,”said Mkandawire in his determination.

Government’s plan to table the Bill may only materialise next year, if a session  of Parliament is summoned before the May 21 2019 Tripartite elections.

Lawyer for the CSOs Wesley Mwafulirwa has welcomed the ruling, saying they will now prepare for the main hearing  as directed by the court.

Senior State advocate Neverson Chisiza could not immediately comment, saying he needed to consult the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale.

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Kanyimbi
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Kanyimbi

@James u mean NGO’s had no laws governing them since multiparty era serious? So what was CONGOMA for & the DPP agues that they wanted to amend do u amend a law that never existed aaaah & amending that the new regulatory body shud b chosen by the Minister zoona nduna idzisankha ma board members angakhale anthu osakondera? Za ziii ndiye nkumati democracy yokhwima imeneyo.

James
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James

In a civilized democratic world you can’t have NGOs without a law to govern them. But I am not surprised with MKANDAWIRE’s ruling. Malawi is not part of the civilized democratic world. Rather we are still in stone age where people did not have laws to govern them. Each of them was just doing whatever they wanted at any other time. Confused and backward society.

Tizanka
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Tizanka

I must say there is a very clear pattern with the way Judge Charles Mkandawire is determining his cases. It could be a coincidence but sure there is a pattern there.

Chrispine
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Nazo

Mundali
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Mundali

RIP the draconian NGO Bill till we meet again when Malawi becomes a communist state like our mentor China. It is unfortunate that my own classmate from NGO Board went to China to learn how NGOs operate there.

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