Law expert backs Judiciary reforms


University of Malawi (Unima) professor of law, Mwiza Nkhata has backed a proposal by Mzimba North Member of Parliament (MP) Agnes Makonda NyaLonje that the public sector reforms currently underway should be extended to the Judiciary and the Legislature.

In her contribution to the discussion on a report presented in Parliament on Monday by the Public Accounts Committee (Pac), NyaLonje said the interaction of the three arms of government needs to be strictly considered for the effective performance of the entire system.

She argued that a critical look at both the Judiciary and the Legislature will find things that need to be changed in these branches of government.


When we sought his views on the lawmaker’s proposal, Nkhata said regarding the Judiciary, there are legitimate and permissible ways for effecting change within it.

“It would be foolhardy to assume that the current structure and operations of the Judiciary represent the ideal setting,” the law professor said in a response to a questionnaire.

He, however, warned that considering the position of the Judiciary in Malawi’s democracy, care must be exercised in pushing through any reform agenda to ensure that, among other things, the process does not undermine the values that it stands for.


Regarding the proposed Legislature reforms, Nkhata argues that at a general level, MPs already have a role to oversee the use of resources in the country.

“Perhaps what we should be worried about is why the Legislature does not seem to be vibrant in performing this role. The Constitution has already created space for the Legislature to perform oversight roles with respect to both the Executive and the Judiciary,” said Nkhata.

He further pointed out that in the immediate term, the country does not need much by way of reform for the Legislature to start performing its oversight roles.

“What we need to focus on is realising the potential that the law has already embedded in the Legislature,” argues Nkhata.

The Pac report, which has since been adopted by the lawmakers, centred on its review and analysis of public departments’ Performance Audit Reports, the Treasury minutes and issues related to the plunder of public funds at Capital Hill dubbed Cashgate.

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