BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The recent published Afrobarometer report has revealed that the public are losing trust in the country’s judicial system, citing judge shopping as among the cited reasons.
The report disclosed that high legal fees are impeding the people accessing quality justice, hence losing trust in the entire system.
The paper went further and said compared to the period between 2011 and 2013 when trust in the judiciary stood at 81 percent, people’s trust decreased to 71% between 2014 and 2015.
The development also comes only a few days after another survey, the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College department of political and administrative studies revealed that Malawians have more trust in clergies and traditional leaders rather than politicians at all levels including the President.
With the Afrobarometer findings, which involved 36 countries titled, “Ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) confronts challenging realities: Access to justice is still elusive for many Africans,” highlighted an increase in trends in perceived corruptions amongst judges during the same period 18% to 22%.
The report offers insight into the extent to which citizens interact with their legal systems and the quality of interaction when accessing justice, saying only 11 % of Malawians made contact with the courts in the past five years.
The paper added that 24% of Malawians pay bribes to get assistance from the courts, which the authority has disputed the findings and said that the public have trust in the country’s judicial system.
“We cannot rule out corruption amongst some judges, but those experiencing it should come with evidence for the judiciary to act. Those bribing judicial officers should realize that they are infringing Section 103 of the Constitution of Malawi which demands judicial officers to work without interference.
“But be assured that judicial officers will dispense justice to everyone without fear or favour irrespective of race, tribe and economic level,” Mlenga Mvula assured as quoted in The Daily Times in reacting to The Afrobarometer survey.
Meanwhile, the judicial supporting staff have issued a 21-day ultimatum for authority to meet their house allowance and reviewing the condition of services failing which they will take unspecific action.