Malawian lawyers, civil rights activists, politicians and other stakeholders have taken to the street in a ‘hands-off-the-judiciary’ demonstration against the executive arm of government meddling in the operational and administrative affairs of the justice delivery system.
The lawyers and stakeholders are on the street in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu in an unprecedented street-march by judicial officers. This has been the climax of public display of annoyance following a whirlwind of local and international official condemnation.
“It is sad it has had to get to this. Ordinarily, it should have been obvious that the three arms of government operate independent of each other,” said one lawyer in Lilongwe.
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC-has joined the demonstrations in solidarity with the aggrieved lawyers. HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence told us earlier:
“Our judiciary is the defender of constitutionalism and the rule of law. Any assault on our judiciary is an assault on the democracy that citizens gallantly fought for.
“Stifling security of tenure of office of judges is, therefore, not only unreasonable and animal-like but also a threat to constitutionalism and democracy. The executive branch of government may play political games with Parliament but we must not allow that to happen with the judiciary,” said Trapence.