We feel for the people of Mzimba South who, for three solid months, have been starved of the delivery of justice following the removal and suspension of Edingeni Court Third Grade Magistrate, Trustgod Mkandawire, over alleged corrupt practices.
The people around this area cannot simply have their court cases heard as they are, most of the times, referred to Mzimba Court through Mzimba Police.
This has resulted in a backlog of cases, in the process, compromising the very delivery of justice.
What this simply means is that the Judiciary, which is an essential arm of the State, solved one problem by removing the magistrate and successfully created another by failing to fill his position.
It is indeed unthinkable and unacceptable that in this day and age, the Judiciary is denying the people of Edingeni justice over an administrative matter of finding a replacement of a migistrate for this particular court.
This is a typical case of justice delayed, justice denied. The implications are that suspects are rotting in the cooler whereas time and money is going down the drain for the aggrieved parties.
They say one is innocent until proven guilty, hence one wonders as to whether anyone cares for the rights of the suspects.
Should we say the right decision to act over the suspected magistrate was made without plan B in terms of filling the vacuum?
Did the Judiciary not have contingency measures to mitigate the effects of eventualities for the then serving magistrate?
What if the magistrate, who was fired, had fallen ill while still working at the Mzimba Court?
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the district have given the Judiciary 14 days to either find a solution to the magistrate’s vacant post or face unspecified action.
We do not want to speculate over the unspecified action but the message from the CSOs, which are there to safeguard the rights of the masses, is that they are sick and tired of the miscarriage of justice.
And we need not remind the Judiciary that we are in a democracy and we are in the 21st century when access to justice is not a privilege of selected parts of the country.
Mlenga Mvula, spokesperson of the Judiciary, has insisted that the office of Chief Justice is looking into the matter and that it will be resolved soon.
But how soon is soon? The people of Mzimba South cannot wait any longer. They need justice delivered yesterday.
Should we be surprised when the people around Edingeni take the law in their hands?
The Judiciary should find a replacement for Edingeni Court magistrate now.
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