Striking Judiciary Staff Face Minister of Finance Wednesday Evening

Striking Judiciary Staff Face Minister of Finance Wednesday Evening

The ongoing strike by judiciary members of staff may come to an end this evening if the staff and Minister of Finance reach an agreement at a meeting expected to take place in Lilongwe.

The striking staff's spokesperson Andy Haliwa has told us the meeting is key to undoing the deadlock that has crippled justice delivery in the past three days, when no court activity was held.

Haliwa says in November, the ministry outrightly refused to grant their salary increase request, allegedly based on the International Monitory Fund advisory not to inflate the country’s wage bill, but hoped the allowance and other demands would be permitted.

He adds the meeting this evening with the Minister of Finance is the determinant of the three-day standoff that has not seen any case or court activity taking place.

“The minister told us in November that he could not increase the salaries based on the conditions given to the government by the IMF, we understood that. But then there were other conditions of service that the Ministry of Finance had approved but were not submitted to the ministry by the Judicial Service Commission. The law says the Judicial Service Commission must recommend but the document that was worked on by the Ministry of Finance is not what was presented, so our argument is that we need to go back to the table,” he says.

Haliwa says they are optimistic that this is a listening government and therefore hopeful for a positive outcome because the dialogue is the best way to solve problems, therefore he believes they will come out of the meeting smiling.

The Malawi Law Society-MLS Honorary Secretary Chrispine Ngunde such developments as deadlocks impinge on the right to justice, as proven by the three-day interruption to court proceedings.

“You know we noticed that due to the strike since Monday, there’s no court business that has been undertaken, meaning that anything to do with the courts has not taken place, and this includes bail applications, delivery of judgment, and any other court business that takes place in the court. So, we just hope an amicable settlement is made so that justice continues to be delivered,” Mpaka says.

He adds, “The main implication is that it affects access to justice because under the constitution, every person has a right to access the court of law, but in this case, since people cannot access the courts, it means their rights are being violated.”

Members of the nearly two-thousand judiciary staff started their strike three days ago to force the government to review their conditions of service.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14/12/2022

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