An Opinion by William kanyumwa,
” l feel the urge to comment on the statement by the Association of judges. I think this is an attempt to gag free speech and scare people in submission. Judges should know that Malawi is a free society with freedom of speech enshrined in our statutes.
The judges should not be immune to criticism. Criticism is valid and should be made. Judges are public officers and they should be subjected to scrutiny. Judges are not super humans, they are just as human as all of us and can error that is the more reason we have several levels of the courts where one would appeal. What happens in the upper court is to analyse the decision of the lower court.
People should distinguish between challenging the judges and criticising the judges.
As citizens we have the right to send messages to our judges. The courts in Malawi have seized jurisdiction not rightly theirs and appear to have overriding powers and this has the danger of decrementing our democracy and separation of power. The president was right to urge parliament to curtail this unwarranted powers being welded by the judges and it has the potential of creating judicial dictatorship. Parliament as people’s representatives should move in fast to work out remedial action to prevent future usurpation.
The judiciary in Malawi has flagrantly usurped jurisdiction where they are seen to be petitioners and judges.
It is a tragedy to believe that judges in Malawi are divine but judges are just fellow morals and carry their own prejudices and emotions
The opportunity to criticise judges is vastly important as it helps them to reform in order to serve people better.
The judiciary should be prepared to listen.
Can you imagine we have Chanco law school and all these judges were trained from there yet we have different opinions on a similar subject and why should judges think that their pronouncement is Devine and cannot be criticized?
Our judges told us that 50+1 is already is our constitution. Why did the framers choose to make it vague? Why not just say majority means one who gets 50+1 of the total votes cast. If they had 50+1 as the interpretation for majority, I am surely they were wise enough and should have provided guidance for a rerun.
I recall Tembenu once presented a bill on 50+1 which was defeated. Do you mean this was a fruitless effort to present a bill when it was already in our constitution?
PAC,CSOs and HRDC were demonstrating and even threatened to conduct vigil at parliament until the 50+1 bill was passed. Would you convince me all these efforts were in vein?
We have two eminent lawyers who were participating in the law commission conferences that was discussing 50+1 and these wise lawyer did not tell the conference delegates that 50+1 was already in the constitution and should not be discussed but what was concluded at that conference was that majority in the constitution meant one who obtained more votes than the other by simple majority in what is called first past the post.