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Supreme Court judges to defend independence

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Justices of the Supreme Court Appeal in the country have agreed to guard against the Executive’s interference in the affairs of the Judiciary.

Registrar of the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba, said the judges met on Tuesday to reflect on the recent developments regarding the Executive’s ‘assault’ on the judiciary.

“I can confirm that the Justices of Appeal met. The Justices agreed that the issue of their leave days is entirely an internal matter and nobody will push them to go.

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“The Justices made it categorically clear that their stance against the Executive’s interference is not being taken because it is [Chief] Justice [Andrew] Nyirenda or Justice [Edward] Twea involved but that if they let this happen, they will be setting a very dangerous precedent,” Patemba said.

She also disclosed that Nyirenda met President Peter Mutharika the same Tuesday to plan a smooth transition at the Supreme Court of Appeal at the time the Justices will be retiring next year.

This comes amid reports on the social media that Nyirenda had met Mutharika to bid farewell apparently because he was finally proceeding on the leave pending retirement and that Justice Rezine Mzikamanda was acting Chief Justice.

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“The Chief Justice met the President only to plan a smooth transition of duties at the time he and Justice Twea will be leaving their offices. We don’t want to find ourselves with the Supreme Court of Appeal which does not have enough Justices to form a quorum.

“The Chief Justice has a committee which I am part of to continue engaging the Executive on the matter,” Patemba said.

She also disclosed that Justice Mzikamanda is on leave at least until the first week of July.

Several stakeholders in Malawi and Africa have severely criticised the Executive for attacking the Judiciary after Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara issued a public notice that Nyirenda and Twea were proceeding on leave having accumulated more days than those remaining before they retire.

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