Govt Withdraws Decision to Send Chief Justice On Leave

By Trouble Ziba

Lilongwe, July 8, Mana: Government has withdrawn its earlier notice to the public regarding Chief Justice Andrew A. K.C. Nyirenda (SC) to proceed on leave, instead he will continue discharging his duties as the country’s Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda

On June 12, 2020, government, through former Chief Secretary, Lloyd Muhara, announced that the Chief Justice would proceed on leave pending his retirement in 2021.

In the notice, Muhara cited accumulated leave days for Nyirenda having outnumbered his remaining working days before his retirement.

“Regarding the accumulated leave days of Honourable the Chief Justice, it is a matter between the Honourable the Chief Justice and Judicial Service Commission,” says the notice which is signed by the new Chief Secretary to Government, Zangazanga Chikhosi.

According to the notice, the Chief Justice will continue to discharge his duties as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Malawi.

The earlier decision by the just dislodged DPP Government to attempt to send Nyirenda on leave was viewed by many law experts as intrusion of the Executive Arm of Government into the affairs of the Judiciary and a clear assault to its independence.

Others, both outside and inside the law profession saw animosity in the decision following the Constitutional Court’s February 3 historical nullification of the May 21, 2019 presidential election on account of massive irregularities.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Candidate Peter Mutharika winner in that election.

However, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM, through the parties’ leaders Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Dr. Saulos Chilima respectively challenged the election through the court and eventually won the battle.

MEC and DPP appeal of the case to the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal did not help matters either because the court upheld the decision by the lower court to nullify the election and order for a fresh one.

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