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Malawi judges association demands immediate withdrawal of public notice on Chief Justice’s retirement

Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (Majam) leaders at a press briefing

Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (Majam) has demanded Chief Secretary to Government, Lloyd Muhara, to withdraw a notice he presented to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice Twea advising them to go on leave pending retirement.

The Association’s president, His Worship Patrick Mwamale, has made the demand today Sunday at a press briefing at the High Court premises in Blantyre.

The association says there are no grounds to push for retirement of the Chief Justice as announced by the Chief Secretary to Government.

They further claim that through their intelligence, they have gathered that the Executive arm of government plans to remove Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, from his office and replace him with another judge, apparently connected to the echelon of the executive power.

The magistrates say they will not allow the removal of the Chief Justice and they have vowed to take action on removal of any judge.

According to the association, after chief justice Andrew Nyirenda, the most senior judge who is Justice Twea takes over.

 After Justice Twea, they say the third in seniority who is Justice Jane Ansah takes over.

On Friday 12 June, 2020, the Chief Secretary to the government, Lloyd Muhara, issued a public notice which stated that the Chief Justice would proceed on leave pending retirement with immediate effect as he has accumulated more leave days than the remainder of his working days to retirement date.

However, the notice has not gone down well with legal minds who have described it as unconstitutional and an attempt to circumvent the Judiciary by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gurus in the face of Fresh Presidential Election slated for June 23, 2020.

Malawi Law Society (MLS) in a statement released on Saturday also that the notice by the Chief Secretary has undesirable implications on the functions of and independence of the Judiciary, and its apparent affront to Constitutionalism.

The Law Society has further called upon the executive arm of government, headed by President Peter Mutharika, to respect the constitutional order and independence of Judiciary as protected by the Constitution in the manner of appointment and tenure of the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court and High Court.

The lawyers’ body says government must refrain from any attempts whatsoever to fire judges and compromise the independence of the Judiciary.

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