Judiciary strike overwhelms police
The ongoing judiciary support staff strike is forcing Malawi Police Service (MPS) to release, on police bail, some suspects with minor offences.
At the time the courts are not functioning, police cannot commit suspects with serious offences to prisons on remand, compelling the service to keep such people in their own temporary holding cells.
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said in an interview Tuesday that the police anticipated congestion in its cells and already devised a means of decongesting them.
Kadadzera said this is how police have been dealing with the congestion challenges that judiciary strike usually poses.
“People out there will continue to commit crimes, so to decongest our cells, we are granting bail suspects with minor offences,” Kadadzera said.
He, however, could not say how the population sizes are shaping in police cells across the country.
Maula Prison spokesperson, Donald Mkorongo, said it is only those people on remand who are suffering as they do not have a chance to appear in court.
“It is the police who feel the problem much because they have no access to warrant that may enable them to commit some suspects to prisons. But for prisons, the number does not change,” Mkorongo said.
The judiciary support staff such as court clerks stopped working from Monday last week to force government start paying them monthly housing allowances just like what the judicial officers such as magistrates and judges receive.
Treasury is on record to have regretted the introduction of housing allowances to the judicial officers and has said that it will be impossible to extend the gesture to the striking judiciary staff.
The two sides have engaged veteran lawyer Mordecai Msisha as a conciliator on the matter.
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