The Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (MAJAM), a body whose membership derives from all Judicial officers in Malawi, has condemned president Peter Mutharika over a wave of open attacks on the judges.
A statement released by MAJAM on June 7, signed by its president, His Honour, Howard Pemba and its Secretary General, His Worship Peter Kandulu, said it is worrisome to note that following the Constitutional Court’s judgement on February 3, which nullified the 2019 presidential elections, there has been a wave of open attacks by Mutharika on the Judicial arm of government.
The statement cited the recent State of the National Address (SONA) by the president during the opening of Parliament which castigated the judges branding them as authors of a “coup d’etat” by virtue of ordering a fresh election.
Reads part of the statement: “In his recent speeches, including in the State of the National Address, the President has unwaveringly castigated the judges branding them authors of a “coup d’etat” and the sentiments are a vivid display of disrespect for the court’s judgment and therefore a threat to judicial independence and the doctrine of separation of powers which are primary characteristics of a democracy.”
The Judicial staff said they have observed that the President has based his attacks on ‘Judicial Accountability’.
However, it has made it clear to the State President that the judiciary is still accountable and transparent.
The statement has highlighted that these continued attacks on the judges by the State President seriously undermine judicial independence and coming from the first citizen have the ability to spur this country into a state of lawlessness should the citizenry opt to emulate the attitude exhibited by the highest office.
The Judicial arm of government has also laughed off remarks by Mutharika in his SONA in which he said Parliament is above the Judiciary.
It further said “as a professor of law, the judicial body expects the President to rise above petty politics and to act as a model to his subjects in upholding and respecting the rule of law which is the cornerstone of every democratic society”.
Recently, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) also took a swipe at Mutharika on his tendency of attacking the judiciary.