Law Society Condemns APM for Attack on Judiciary

APM: Accuses courts of 'judicial coup de tat' APM: Accuses courts of 'judicial coup de tat' Pic by File Photo

The Malawi Law Society - MLS - has condemned President Peter Mutharika for using a political podium to express his concerns with the judiciary knowing fully well the judiciary has no political facilities to respond to the allegations that he is making.

Mutharika has repeatedly used political public podia to accuse the courts of what he calls “a judicial coup de tat” aimed at pushing for regime change in the country.

“…Judges of High Court and the Justices of Appeal of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal in their respective judgments of 3rd February 2020 and 8th May 2020 duly gave reasons in writing for their decisions in the Presidential Elections Case thereby duly discharged their constitutional responsibility on the matters before them,” reads the MLS statement.

It is noted in the statement that sentiments by Mutharika on Friday 29th May 2020 on public television and later on public radio on Monday 1st  June 2020 suggest failure of the courts in determining the presidential election case.

But the MLS calls on Mutharika to refrain from further attacks on the judiciary.

“(The MLS) …calls upon the State President to lead by example by at all times preserving and upholding the rule of law and promoting the respect, independence and integrity of the Malawi judiciary as separate constitutional arm of government with constitutional responsibility,” reads part of the statement issued June 1, 2020.

MLS Secretary Martha Kaukonde told Zodiak Online later that the society is inviting Parliament “which includes the President and National Assembly” to carefully read the full final judgment of the Supreme Court, to understand what it says and why.

Kaukonde says this should be done in accordance with the principles for interpreting judgments and to implement it within the spirit of the constitutional order to ensure mutual respect and tolerance, collective security, morality and the common good.

The MLS says it has issued the statement in exercise of its statutory mandate “to protect matters of public interest touching, ancillary or incidental to law” and while noting that the rule of law is an essential protection for the people of Malawi.

The MLS observes that it is the duty of governmental institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary and that it is a specific duty of the State President of Malawi to uphold and defend the Constitution which includes the notion of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.

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