Malawi Law Society chides government on rule of law

Patrick Mpaka

Malawi Law Society (MLS) has, in its assessment of 2021, observed that there is still a lot of ground to cover in ensuring that the rule of law prevails.

It also calls for increased efforts in the areas of accountability and economic justice.

MLS President Patrick Mpaka told The Daily Times that the country has clear economic governance structures cutting across the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary but decried the continued sidelining of some of the structures.


He cited the recently announced Social Economic Recovery Plan for 2021-23, saying it favours the Executive arm of the government at the expense of equally important arms.

“The Legislature and the Judiciary and their core responsibilities in the economic and democratic governance seem to have been reduced to a footnote while the Executive seems to unilaterally appropriate the national development agenda and a minimum of K580 billion without the involvement of several institutions in the economic governance structure,” he said.

Mpaka further noted that K6.2 billion meant for Covid response was disbursed without Parliament’s approval and oversight.


He also said K17 billion was disbursed without accountability safeguards.

“In essence, I am saying the government is displaying a good attitude towards the rule of law but is setting itself on the path to serve without transparency and accountability under the law in practice by ignoring the legal structure for economic governance.

“That approach is unlikely to translate into sustainable programmes to deliver development to ordinary people. Lack of transparency and accountability is a recipe for disaster in a democratic setting,” he said.

Mpaka also noted that a lot of work needed to be done for Malawi to attain full observation of the rule of law, governance and independence of the three arms of government.

“Take, for example, the attempt to impair the security of tenure of judges and the idea to introduce contracts for judges. Was that necessary in the wake of Section 111 of the Constitution? Take as another example; the appointment of sitting judges into embassies. Is that reflective of independence of the Judiciary from the Executive, especially at a time we are all saying the Judiciary needs to do more to speed up judgement delivery?” Mpaka queried.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Gospel Kazako has said the current administration has been addressing the problems.

“Yes, a lot has been done just as there is a lot of work to be done. Most of the gaps and inefficiencies span 26 years of lawlessness and Executive impunity. This is what the Chakwera administration is fixing,” he said.

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