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Judges protest transfers

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Contrary to what the Judiciary termed as logistical hitches, The Daily Times has established that two judges the Judiciary is trying to transfer between its High Court registries of Blantyre and Mzuzu are protesting their movements.

The two are Justice Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa from Blantyre Registry and Justice Dingiswayo Madise from Mzuzu Registry.

Judiciary Spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula told The Daily Times on Tuesday that the judiciary was failing to move the two because of “logistical issues”, promising that the transfers would be effected once the issues are resolved. Mvula refused to explain the issues then.

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But our investigations have established that the two judges have protested to Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda, as they feel targeted and that the transfers are not normal.

The investigations have revealed that Madise cited personal reasons for his unwillingness to move to Blantyre while Usiwa Usiwa felt that the transfer came as a punishment and that he has also been denied his contractual entitlements

Faced with the revelations on Tuesday evening, Mvula admitted that both judges have concerns that their employer has to sort out.

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“It is true that Justice Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa does not have a vehicle at the moment. The one that he has been using was given to him as a deputy registrar and it is not roadworthy as it is on and off [the road].

“Currently, he is not even showing up at the office because there is no office space. We do not have office space at the moment but we know surely that the office [Judiciary] is doing all it can to ensure that both judges start discharging their duties as soon as possible for the betterment of the citizenry in terms of access to justice,” Mvula said.

Asked to comment on why Justice Madise is also not reporting for duty, Mvula said the judge reported to the Chief Justice that he was ill.

“He has got personal issues he raised with the office of the Chief Justice. He reported that he was unwell so he could not make it to the principal registry in Blantyre. But I know that the office of the Chief Justice is doing all it can to ensure that court judges are accommodated in the system and should start discharging their duties as soon as possible,” he said.

The Daily Times has established that with the nation in need of judges, the two have not been working since January as Usiwa Usiwa does not have an office in Blantyre while Madise also had issues.

We have also stumbled on a copy of a letter that Usiwa Usiwa wrote to the Chief Justice asking for consideration.

In the letter, dated February 20, 2017, the judge is pleading with the CJ that he has been to all four registries of Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Zomba (twice) and Blantyre while some judges have never moved out of the Blantyre registry.

“Now in my case, my Lord Chief Justice, are we rotating or starting rotating with a person who has already rotated in the places, like me?” he queries.

Usiwa Usiwa also talks about his car: “My Lord Chief Justice, I have the most unrealiable vehicle which stays between the garage and outside most part of the year. As I am writing, the driver has just reported to me that it is not coming out today from CFAO, contrary to my wish.”

The judge also complains that at the time of writing the letter, he had not accessed his monthly fuel allocation as he was struck off the list before leaving for Mzuzu.

In an interview wednesday, Madise expressed hope that he would be moving to Blantyre anytime soon.

“I am still sick as I speak. I am having challenges with my blood pressure. But I am willing to take up the post in Blantyre. We have found a house we were waiting for and it is being painted and the moment work is completed I will move to Blantyre,” Madise said.

Usiwa Usiwa confirmed, in a separate interview, that he had concerns and hoped that his employer would sort them out.

“Go back to [Mr Mlenga] Mvula for the details. Maybe, by logistics, he means that I do not have a car,” he said.

In an earlier interview, Malawi Law Society President Khumbo Soko said they have been engaging the Judiciary on the matter.

“Lawyers under the society’s chapter in the north complained to us and we have been engaging the Judiciary on the matter. Mzuzu is growing and there is need for an additional judge,” Soko said.

In the transfer, the Judiciary also deployed Justice Dorothy de Gabrielle, besides Usiwa Usiwa, to the Mzuzu Registry. De Gabrielle already reported for duty at her new office.

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