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Malawi Judiciary legality questioned for siding with manufacturers against plastic ban

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Judiciary system legality to serve the nation interest is under microscope following its continual conduct of siding with the manufacturers against long battle on plastic ban.

This comes after the sitting High Court in the capital Lilongwe again on July 12, 2018  suspended the enforcement of the plastic ban which was ordered on June 14, this year.

Following the judicial review case number 20 of 2016 between the state and the Director of Environmental Affairs as respondents against Aero plastic industries limited and Abdul Majid Sattar Rainbow plastic as applicants, Judge Justice Potani ruled in their  (the manufacturers ) favor.

Judge Potani has therefore set August 9, 2018 as the date for inter-parte hearing while the suspension remains intact.

“Upon hearing counsel for the applicants and upon hearing  the sworn statement of Frank Farouk Mbeta filed herein, it is here ordered and directed that the enforcement of the ruling of this court dated 14th June, 2018 herein be and is suspended pending the inter partes hearing scheduled for 9th August, 2018” reads the statement copied to The Attorney General which was made available to The Maravi Post.

The ruling has however angered Malawians from different background questioning the judiciary mandate on public interest including the country’s leadership political will.

Association of Environmental Journalists in Malawi (AEJ) members reacted angrily on the ruling considering that in June this year the organized the match against the plastic ban on World Environmental Day that falls on June 5, yearly.

“Three steps forward-Five steps backwards! This is retrogressive,” worried Kondwani Magombo of Malawi News Agency (MANA)-Mangochi.

Thomas Psyata of Galaxy Radio chipped in; “Perhaps the judiciary needs a bit of an interface so that they appreciate the extent of this climate change”.

“Sad how these mwenyes (Indians) can get away with anything just because they have the money. They have taken all our land, abuse our brothers and sisters and now they are destroying our environment. Lord have mercy,” worried Pauline Kaude of  MANA-Ntchisi.

One of the renown human rights activists, MacDonald Sembereka added; “This judge will grant the applicants which I know. Check this space with Mbeta as their lawyer eish”.

Malawi case is different with Uganda on the same as  President Yoweri Museveni in January  ordered the country’s security chiefs to enforce the ban on the use of polythene bags.

President Museveni further ordered 45 manufacturers to stop churning the products in line with a shelved law which had barred use of plastic bags.

With the directive, Uganda becomes the third African country to ban the use, sale, and manufacturing of plastic bags.

Kenya banned plastic bags in 2017 while Rwanda has had the order in force for years.

“My message to the plastics industry is that you should manufacture, distribute and sell only permitted quality plastics,” Daily Monitor quotes Museveni.

“The continued manufacture of banned products must stop,” the president said during celebrations to mark the World Environment Day.

The Uganda President added that since the 2010 law on use of sacks and bags of ethene and polyethene had not been repealed, it should be enforced.

A UN report released in the sane January proposed to governments to consider banning or imposing heavy taxes on manufacturers of single-use plastic bags.

The report recommended on grounds that “less than a 10th of all the plastic ever made has been recycled.”

The comprehensive study says that up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, according to Reuters.

“The scourge of plastic has reached every corner of the Earth,” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, says in the report.

“Only 9 per cent of the 9 billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled,” the report said.

“Most ends up in landfills, dumps or in the environment.”



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Lloyd M’bwana
Lloyd M’bwana
I'm a Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANAR)'s Environmental Science graduate (Malawi) and UK's ICM Journalism and Media studies scholar. I have been The Malawi Country Manager and duty editor for the Maravi Post for the past Three Years. My duty editor’s job is to ensure that the news is covered properly, that it is delivered on time, and that it is created to the standards set out in the editorial guidelines of the Maravi Post. I also decide most of what the user will or will not see. And those users will be clicking on the website expecting to see what their trusted news. Organisation has to say on an issue. I started as a senior Reporter with the Maravi Post over a 6 years ago. When I have time, I do field reporting as well.

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