Appeal elections case if not satisfied—Malawi Law Society
Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said parties which would not be satisfied with the outcome of the elections case should consider taking a legal course by appealing to higher courts other than resorting to violence.
The society’s President, Burton Mhango, was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Daily Times summing up how the year has been for MLS.
Mhango said the MLS has trust in the country’s judicial system and appealing the case is the only way that peace can be sustained in the country.
“In any court dispute, the expectation is that judgment goes in favour of one party only. It is expected that this case will be no different. Therefore our appeal remains, especially to our various leaders to calm their followers to accept the outcome of the court case. The [Malawi] Law Society has trust in our judicial system and we call upon all those not satisfied with the outcome to take legal course by appealing to the higher courts,” he said.
MLS joined the presidential elections case as amicus curiae— Friends of the Court— to educate the court on points of law that are in doubt as well as gather information, among others.
In the case, UTM’s Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera are seeking nullification of the presidential election results of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections arguing they had irregularities.
Mhango said for an institution such as MLS, 2019 has been a busy year due to the elections and that regulation of the profession in Malawi changed its course for the first time since 1965 due to the enactment of the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act 2017.
In February this year, the society spoke tough on incidences of lawyers’ misconduct saying the new regulation would help address the challenges.
Over the past two years, the society received 217 cases against its members bordering on overcharging clients, non-remittance of funds and professional negligence, among others.
Asked if the situation has changed, Mhango, said: “In 2019 there has been significant reduction in the number of complaints against our lawyers. Most of the cases that our fully functional disciplinary committee has been dealing with are carry-over cases from the previous years.”
The society’s core function is to help in the sustenance of rule of law; however there were more cases of violence, mob justice and lawlessness on the part of the citizenry as some quarters of the public have said.
“The society emphasised the provisions of section 12 of the Constitution which calls for tolerance and peaceful co-existence among Malawians at all times knowing that before or after the election there would at all times be one Malawi and one leadership for all Malawians. We were consistent with our calls to all power bearers and law enforcers to uphold the law at all times. We also managed to offer free legal advice to relevant stakeholders in how to legally deal with issues of violence and public freedom with the aim of sustaining the rule of law,” he said.
Meanwhile, MLS has said the public should be aware that under the new regulatory framework every lawyer is required to take up pro-bono legal services to assist those that cannot manage to pay for legal services.