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CHAKWERA CRIPPLING THE ALREADY UNDERSTAFFED JUDICIARY BY APPOINTING JUDGES AS DIPLOMATS

CHAKWERA: Under Fire

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has noted with concern the recent appointments of judicial staff by the Tonse Alliance administration, under President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to serve in foreign missions at a time when the Judiciary is faced with acute shortage of judges.

CDEDI and, indeed, all well-meaning Malawians are dismayed with this kind of appointments of judges when the country has a pool of talent, and even career diplomats, that can ably represent the country and let our honourable men and women of the bench allow Malawians enjoy the services of the Judiciary without undue hindrances.

Additionally, the recent appointments from the Judiciary raise suspicions and speculations, especially the one that involves a judge, whose contract was recently extended to allow for smooth conclusion of one of the country’s high-profile murder cases that has dragged for over ten years.

Malawians are now left wondering as to what becomes of the case of the murder case against Misonzi Chanthunya with Justice Esmie Chombo going away to the Embassy.

This is the same judge whose contract was also extended solely to conclude the case of Paul Mphwiyo connected to the Cashgate case.

This, to say the least is smelly and unjustifiable. Her contract was extended on grounds that the case is complex and no any other judge would be able to take it unless the trial begins again. Now we have this development, what message is the Tonse administration sending? This development, to some extent, confirms our fear, and that of other Malawians, that there is a big political invisible hand behind the dragging of this case.

President Chakwera and Patemba

As if this was not enough, Malawians woke up on Thursday, July 1, 2021, to reports that Judge Agnes Patemba has also been appointed as the Deputy Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Here is a judge who, in a space of months, has sent the right message to perpetrators of rape and defilement that their days are numbered, but is dubiously being asked to serve the country as an envoy!

Truth be told, Judge Patemba brought hope that Malawi was on the right path in fighting rape and defilement; hence, only the Tonse Alliance administration knows why and how this appointment is in the interest of the country. Without mincing words, the development casts a ray of doubt on the Tonse Alliance’s administration’s commitment to the promotion of the Rule of Law and access to timely justice.

Chakwera should reverse the appointments- Namiwa

 It is an open secret that the Judiciary is currently saddled with a backlog of cases, with some citizens waiting for justice for as long as over 21 years! As they say, justice delayed is justice denied.

We at CDEDI, would like to ask President Chakwera to reverse such unsound appointments and, instead, consider appointing more judges to the bench.

Otherwise, we can safely construe that sending the judicial staff to the foreign missions is a ploy by the current administration to achieve its sinister motives by dangling carrots to people Malawians need more for the creation of a safer country.

We appeal to the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to critically look at this development, and where necessary, take an action.

SYLVESTER NAMIWA

CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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