Southern Africa Chief Justices’ Forum condemn Mutharika over Malawi Judiciary attacks

Southern Africa Chief Justices Forum  has  added its voice in  condemning President Peter Mutharika for criticising the Judiciary following the nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election results and the the Executive’s move to force Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda proceed on leave pending retirement.

Justice Twea SC jas also been given notice to go on forced leave

Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara —a judge of the High Court on secondment to the Executive— issued a public notice  dated June 12 2020  that the Chief Justice should proceed on leave to clear his days pending retirement and that his replacement would be appointed in due course.

Similar notice has been issued in relation ti Justice of Appeal, Edward Twea.

Ironically, Nyirenda and Twea are due to retire in December  2021 and April 2021 respectively.

But in a statement  dated June 15 2020, Southern Africa Chief Justices Forum, a grouping of chief justices and equivalent judicial leaders from Southern African countries,  says it is deeply concerned about the recent developments in Malawi which appear to undermine the independence of the judiciary and individual judges.

“We have also become aware that as part of the State of the Nation address earlier this month, President Mutharika declared that Parliament was ‘more supreme’ than the courts.

“This is simply incorrect. The Constitution is Malawi’s supreme law, and it provides for three separate though mutually interdependent arms of government. Under the Constitution, the independence of the judiciary, to apply the law impartially, is expressly guaranteed,” reads the statement c-signed by  Chief Justice of Zambia Ireen Mambilima, Chief Justice of Nambia Peter Shivute, Chief Justice of Seychelles Dr Mathilda Tworney and Chief Justice of Tanzanua  Prof Ibrahim Juma.

The Chief Justices Forum expresses concerns that the governmnt’s notices and the purported placement of the Chief Justice and Justice Twea on leave pending retirement, is an attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary in Malawi.

“This is in violation of Malawi’s domestic and international obligation to respect the independence of the judiciary.

“Section 103 (1) of the Constitution of Malawi clearly states that the judiciary must be allowed to function independently. Article 26 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights affirms that ‘States Parties to the present Charter have the duty to guarantee the independence of the courts.’”

The  Forum states that the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, states that the independence of the judiciary ‘shall be guaranteed by the State’, and that ‘(I)t is the duty of all Government and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.’

“The Executive efforts to place judges on involuntary leave pending their retirement is ultra vires the Executive powers, violates the constitution, the security of tenure of the judiciary and separation of powers.

“We wish to remind the Government of Malawi that respecting judicial independence is not a cloistered virtue. It must be seen to be practiced in order to ensure the confidence of the people in the judiciary,” reads the statement.

The Chief Justices reiterate that the decision for a judge to go on leave pending retirement should be made voluntarily by the concerned judge, in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.

“It is the Chief Justice and or the Judiciary who if they wish must communicate to the public such decision.”

The Forum has since asked the Chief Secretary to withdraw his public notice forcing the Chief Justice and Justice Twea to immediately proceed on leave pending retirement and make an appropriate public announcement about such retraction.

Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), Commonwealth Legal Education Association (Clea), Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and the Rechters voor Rechters (Judges for Judges),  also expressed concern over Mutharika’s remarks towards the Judiciary.

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Namatetule
8 months ago

Judges think they are gods. they are the most corrupt people and they take too many bribes. Not only that but they overcharge people with a clear conscience. They shy from any critisism because they think nobody should critisize them. Let me say this, the corruption among judges is worse that the corruption in the goverment. Go and file a case in the courts, you will know what am talking about.

Malawi belong to the citizens

Marumbo tell your gogo at 80yrs to retire from active politics first, Marumbo ndiwe mbuli ngati Munthalika.

Malawi belong to the citizens

Munthalika and Muhara should be arrested soon new leaders comes in.

Kandulu
Kandulu
8 months ago

Do not worry about APM his is going to Hague International Criminal Court for retirement before the end of this year.

SAUNDERS
SAUNDERS
8 months ago

This is an internal problem that dont need foreign involvement. No Jugde in Malawi has been arrested, killed or illtreated, why should foreign people be involved with our internal quarrels. What ever Mutharika has said he was expressing his opinion on the Judgements which is a democratic right, he did not refuse to abide he was simply complaining about the bias being practiced by our Judges. Mutharika as a Citizen feels that he is being delibertly victimised by the judicial, so there is no sin in complaining against Judgement. The issue of going on leave in a Labour issue, how… Read more »

PhD, Jerusalem University
PhD, Jerusalem University
8 months ago
Reply to  SAUNDERS

Paibenso UMBUI NGATI ULI PAMWAPA.

innocent gama
innocent gama
8 months ago

Marumbo ndiwe chitsiru

Zio ine
Zio ine
8 months ago

Only corrupt people insists staying on their position when their time is up. This is an arrangement for the greater conspiracy thatChakwera and Chilima and the judiciary have worked out. Muntharika should know that these people have ganged up against him and Nyirenda will stay put at the judiciary so that he should be dismissing every applications that the DPP might bring to court.

H E Nyaphapi One
8 months ago

Mr. Mutharika. .. (he is still thinking of ‘hiding the dead body of his brother Mr bingu Mutharika and taking the corpse to Johannesburg) (only that ‘he’ is the corpse.)

Che Juma
Che Juma
8 months ago

Here we go again. Drama, drama, drama.

This old, bigoted and homosexual president we call nutty professor APM, is just scandalous and out of order.
He really is not a consummate professional, and the professor of law, is certainly not a befitting title for him.

Mutharika must fall, and him too much be forced to retire pending execution.

Maunits
Maunits
8 months ago

Mmalankhula chani mmene Jane Ansa the useless and incompetent Judge refused to step down muonaso nyekhwete mmayesa cha. Nyirenda and Twea remains in the office until 2021

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