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My Take On It: Calling for respect for the principle of separation of powers in Malawi

Malawi’s Constitutional Court Judges

“For the principle of Separation of Powers to work in our democracy in Malawi, all institutions and individuals alike need to respect the rule of law… … There is no room for any of the three branches of government to believe that it is superior to the other and therefore cannot be censured by the law.” – IFES , Separation of Powers in a Constitutional Democracy, 2003

The Democratic Progressive Party this week pulled another rabbit out of their hat, in their relentless effort to hold onto power. As the landmark decision of February 3, 2020, continues to receive commendations from around the world. The DPP, along with the Malawi Electoral Commission has appealed the ConCourt decision that annulled the May 2019 Presidential elections result that declared Peter Mutharika winner.

Topping the appeal, members of the party held a march led by DPP strong-arm Henry Mussa who read the petition at the Blantyre City Council. Our eyebrows reached high heaven as the former cabinet minister reported that his party demands investigation of the five judges.

To the former minister, this would apparently “remove any perception that it is either sympathizer of opposition politics or that it worked and succumbed to pressure from violent demos.”

Monitoring social media reactions, Gipson Potpher Kautale agreed with the position, citing that the justices must be investigated because they introduced some issues which were not in the court case.

I selected five top strong reactions to Mussa and his cohorts march against the judges.

Maggie Chirwa gives three-point advice on how the politicians can win her, and Malawian’s votes. She states that the politician must stop thinking about themselves; they should think about Malawi’s goal and how it connects with one’s party. This can then be followed by strategies and tactics for achieving the goals.

A big question for the DPP was posed by Elton WT Nankwere who wondered why the DPP had changed from its pre-decision stance that it would accept the ConCourt ruling.

Kingsley Mulekano could not hold his laughter at the former MP, an apparent reference to the fact that the former MP is on record to have petitioned the courts to include the MPs in the fresh elections. He found it ironic that two weeks later Mussa is leading demonstrations to have the ConCourt judgment over-turned.

It would be a travesty of justice if the bribing of the justices was omitted from the discourse, and Temwa Shorty Chirambo asks the DPP to bring something tangible to the table. She outlines the attempted bribery the party made to the justices. She counters by stating that the DPP appears to be upset that the justices refused the bribe, causing the DPP’s anger. She calls for Malawi to clean its systems without looking at the party colors.

 Herbert Chitseko makes a before and after analysis of DPP duplicity that called for acceptance of the court ruling and remains peaceful and demonstrations are bad; blah, blah, blah! He charges that the DPP has appealed to the Supreme Court and is busy demonstrating against the judges’ decision. He ends his intervention with the mother of all rhetorical questions: “Maybe the ‘let’s accept the court’s ruling’ was for other people and not yourselves? You are a confused party.” 

“Be like Kamuzu, the perfect gentleman. He accepted the results gracefully and stepped down, dignity intact. But the power-hungry thieves nowadays don’t want to let go of the seat. We have a right to vote for who we want to rule us, stop being greedy, selfish, and stealing votes. We do not want to be ruled by someone we do not want.

in his paper titled “The Fundamental Values of the Republic of Malawi Constitution, Dr. Msaiwale Chigawa at Review of the Constitution 28 – 31 March 2006 presented that

on  6th July 1966, a new Republican Constitution came into force that while it retained the three organs of the state – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, the main theme that runs throughout this constitution is that of strong executive authority that is vested in the president.

The Judiciary was completely subordinate to the executive. This changed when Malawi adopted the new Constitution on 17 May 1995 as the Malawi National Assembly adopted a democratic constitution.

Chigawa went on to advanced that the value of supremacy of the constitution, no single person or organ of the state is above the law.

All are equal and bound by the same law. Other values include those of the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, transparency and accountability by state officials and periodic and genuine elections.”

The notion that a political party operative, with all the appearances of representing the executive branch of government has the audacity to orchestrate a demonstration against and questions, bringing into disrepute a decision of the Court is absurd, ridiculous, and unprincipled. 

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Janet Karim
Janet Karimhttp://maravipost.com
Candidate Master of Education (2019) EBD, The George Washington University (GSEH); Highly organized, charismatic and persuasive Communications Specialist and accomplished Editor with 10+ years in the communications field, offering expertise in all phases of print; international development work experience with the United Nations headquarters (10 years, and two years UNDP field work); field experience (Malawi) - Oxfam, UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO; and electronic and social media productions. Superb public speaker who communicates effectively with target audiences through strategic dept at event planning and PR campaigns. Conscientious, diplomatic and tactful in all communications. Highly-motivated and trained media professional possessing exceptional writing and editing skills with ability to draft engaging and effective content; contributor for two leading national dailies (Nation Malawi - 2015-PRESENT; Times Malawi (2004-2007). Other areas of expertise include grant writing and project management. Highly trained in international, regional and local lobbying skills. Collaborates with international companies to initiate development policy change and foster public awareness, with deep commitment to social justice and health care equity; especially in work towards ending child, early and forced marriage, and promoting the human rights of the elderly. Microsoft Word, Excel, desktop publishing, broadcasting, television programming, social media management.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Can you explain why the judges determined on issues that were not in the case. Petitioners asked the court to annul the Presidential poll. Why did the judges introduce 50+1?

  2. A Janet Karim, you just want to humiliate yourself. You ate enough during MCP’s Kamuzu regime with your father Nyemba Mbekeani before you married late Karim. What point are you trying to make? Parliament is sovereign – it can pass or reject bills. Tell your judges that they overstepped their mandate. Do you know what ‘Separation of Powers’ means? Or you are just joining the bandwagon in the hope that you can get a position from Chilima or Chakwera. Unatha iwe – just go to retirement.

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