President Lazarus Chakwera Thursday swore in four Supreme Court and 12 High Court judges and urged them to be courageous and not to allow to be corrupted.
The 16 judges were appointed on Monday and include Justices of Appeal Ivy Kamanga, Healey Potani, John Katsala and Charles Mkandawire.
Those appointed to the High Court are Agnes Patemba, Violet Chipao, Mzonde Mvula, Charlotte Malonda, Justus Kishindo, Anneline Kanthambi, Vikochi Chima, Simeon Mdeza, Masauko Msungama, William Msiska, Maureen Kondowe and Mandala Mambulasa.
In his speech at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe during the swearing-in ceremony, Chakwera said to be a judge is to join God in his work of serving the poor and lifting yokes from the shoulders of the oppressed.
According to Chakwera, to be a judge is to labour for the wellbeing of others more by listening than talking and to serve the people of Malawi “as they sit to feast with God at the table of justice”.
“The first leg that the table of justice stands on is truth. Distinguishing truth from falsehood is no easy task, for the truth that evidence and testimony reveal is often obscured by lies, hearsay, innuendo, and error. Yet without it, there can be no justice.
“The second leg that the table of justice stands on is peace. Our courts exist as an avenue for the peaceful resolution of disputes, so as to prevent us from employing violent means toward that end. As such, those who sit on the bench must be men and women who not only love public peace, but also hate all open and secret enemies of that peace,” Chakwera said.
He reminded the judges that there is a great danger inherent in serving as a Justice of the High Court and Supreme Court, but urged them to be courageous and stand their ground and fight the good fight.
“Lastly, the table of justice stands on the leg of knowledge. You are sworn to study the law, and when it changes, to study it some more. Your knowledge of the law must not only be the best in the land, but it must continue to grow through study and intellectual rigour.
“It is a great disgrace and dishonour for a judge to be slothful in the task of reading laws and cases, or to leave a bench unattended,” Chakwera said.
In an interview after the swearing-in ceremony, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, hailed government for appointing the judges, a development he said would help ease pressure on the Judiciary.
Nyirenda said the courts have in recent years witnessed an increase in the number of people seeking legal redress to issues, therefore, the need to have enough officials to adjudicate over the matters.
He urged the judges to work hard, saying the increased number of judges would mean nothing if they are not committed to serving the people.
On Tuesday, the Malawi Law Society wrote Chakwera and Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission requesting that the judicial oaths of judges who have been promoted to the Supreme Court of Appeal be halted until the judges conclude their outstanding cases in the High Court.
Nyirenda said those promoted to the Supreme Court will be given time to clear their backlog, if any.