Judges condemn DPP
Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (Majam) has condemned the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for attacking judges due to the historical presidential case ruling that nullified May 21 2019 presidential elections.
Majam has made the condemnation in a joint statement with Association of Magistrates (Ama) in which they have stressed that the conduct of DPP does not only undermine the rule of law “but also the integrity and independence of the Judiciary”.
“This we say bearing in mind that the matter for which the demonstrations are being conducted is now in the Supreme Court of Appeal. One would therefore wonder as to what message the DPP is trying to advance with its demonstrations when in fact the matter is in the hands of the Justices of Appeal.
“Much as the holders of judicial offices are not immune from any constructive criticism, as MAJAM and AMA, we will not just sit down and silently watch Judges being personally and professionally attacked without any justified cause,” reads part of the statement that has been signed by Majam president Howard Pemba and Patrick Mwamale, who is president of Ama.
The law gurus have further urged the governing party to follow a due process if there is any criminal suspicion in the way the court case was handled.
They say it is worrying that the party has chosen to openly attack the judges who presided over the case and the Judiciary, in general, adding that it is in their view that the “attacks on the judges and demonstrations against them by the DPP are a misplaced phenomenal and one that is least expected in a constitutional democracy as ours.”
They have extended a message to the blue camp that the five judges that presided over the constitutional referral case had nothing personal to do with any party to the case and had no personal interest whatsoever to its outcome.
“All they did was to carry out their duty as called upon by the law. As a ruling party, we expected the DPP to rise above petty politicking and to act as a model to other parties in upholding and respecting the rule of law,” reads part of the statement.
DPP spokesperson Nicolas Dausi failed to give a response to the matter saying he was attending parliamentary proceedings while the party’s Secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey could not pick her phone.
The Constitutional Court led by five judges – Healey Potani, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise – nullified the May 21 2019 presidential polls on February 3 2020 due to irregularities that marred the election process.
Due to the judgment, DPP, whose leader President Peter Mutharika was declared winner of the poll, this week held demonstrations in Blantyre and Zomba cities calling it a March for the Restoration of Democratic Justice.
Majam, among others, oversees the professional and general conduct of magistrates and judges in Malawi while Ama is a registered trade union for magistrates and has, among other things, the mandate to speak for and on issues affecting magistrates and judicial officers in general.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.