Revere d Dr Zacc Kawalala, who hea s the Ethics, Peace and Justice Commission (EPJC) – a socio-governance arm of Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM)–has challenged President Peter Mutharika on judicial accountability and further condemned the President’s continued attacks on the Judiciary.
EAM is an umbrella body for 64 church denominations and 58 Christian organisations.
In ist statement made available to Nyasa Times, EAM said that it learnt with great dismay the continued attempts by the President to undermine the Judiciary.
“The President’s remarks in his State of Nation address, that Parliament is supreme above the courts is regrettable and a direct attack not only to the Judiciary, but also to the principle of separation of power and Constitutional Supremacy which Malawi abides to,” reads the statement signed by the association’s chairman the Reverend Kawalala.
Mutharika took a swipe at those who were criticizing him for undermining the Judiciary through public rallies arguing that the judges were not immune to accountability.
“And let us admit we that we sometimes do what is not right because the Court has said so. But let us remember that Parliament is more supreme above the Courts…I want Malawi to be a country where everyone must be accountable. Nobody should be above the law and nobody should be above criticism.
“The President and the Executive are always held accountable every day by this House and the people. Parliament is held accountable. But who holds the Judiciary accountable? I respect the Court. Speaking my views when the Courts err is not attacking the Courts”, said Mutharika.
However, EPJC in their recent statement argue that while they agreed with Mutharika on the issue of nobody being immune to accountability, the Constitution lays down unique ways on how the judicially can be held accountable within the framework of advancing rule of law.
“While we agree with the President that every individual and institution must be held accountable, we would like to remind him that Judicial accountability as clearly spelt out in our Constitution requires that those who are not happy with a particular court judgement should be allowed to appeal to a higher court with the Supreme Court being the court of last resort domestically.
“President Mutharika was given such an opportunity, and indeed utilised it but the Supreme Court still upheld the decision of High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court,” reads the statement .
“It is in this regard that it was expected of President Mutharika as someone who had vowed to defend the Constitution and uphold rule of Law to respect such a decision and move on.
“However, contrary to this President Mutharika has resolved to attacking the Judiciary in public – a platform the learned judges cannot respond to. As EPJC we strongly condemn this dictatorial behaviour especially at a time when the Country is preparing for the Fresh Presidential elections”.
EPJC further faulted Mutharika on his remarks purporting that the Parliament is more supreme than Judiciary arguing that such remarks had no legal basis.
“The President’s remarks that Parliament is more supreme above the Courts are regrettable and a direct attack not only on the Judiciary but also on the principle of separation of Power and Constitutional Supremacy which Malawi abides to,” reads the statement.
The EPJC statement has been endorsed by the following EPJC Commissioners and Executive Members Rev. Matilda Matabwa, Rev. Major Makuni Gondwe, Rev. Paul Mawaya, Rev. Charles Makata, Rev. Evans Jeka and Makhumbo Munthali.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :