By Staff Writer:
President Lazarus Chakwera has emphasized the need for a transparent and accountable judiciary for the smooth administration of justice in the country.
Chakwera made the remarks when he presided over the Annual General Conference of the African Bar Association (AFBA) which Malawi is hosting for the first time.
His remarks come at a time when the country’s judiciary has come under immense attack from some quarters of the society for what they are describing as dubious judgements by the country’s court.
Addressing delegates to the four day conference, Chakwera underscored the need for the country to have an independent and transparent judiciary if effective administration of justice is to be achieved.
Chakwera said for that to be achieved there are a number of measures that have to be undertaken some of which he said his government has already started undertaking.
The Malawi leader singled out the constitutional court ruling that nullified results of the 2019 Fresh Presidential election as one clear example of how independently the judiciary ought to operate.
“It is also worth noting that the fresh presidential election that followed that ruling was the most credible in Malawi’s democratic history, in large part because it was administered under the stewardship of an excellent member of our esteemed Judiciary, whose leadership single-handedly removed the stain that had been placed on our Judiciary by his predecessor, a feat for which he is owed the thanks of a grateful nation,” said Chakwera.
The Malawi leader further went on to highlight some of the key reforms his government is undertaking within the judiciary.
Said Chakwera: “The first is our policy of steadily raising the allocation of financial resources to the Judiciary in the national budget until we reach our desired goal of a minimum of 3%.
“A second correction is our policy of placing the most accomplished and capable of our judicial officers on the top benches of our justice system, which ensures that errors in judgement in our lower courts can ably be corrected before the higher courts.
“ Third correction we have been pursuing is the legislative creation of special courts to expedite certain categories of cases of great national interest, and as I speak, the Courts Amendment Bill, which establishes the Financial Crimes Division of the High Court, has just been passed by Parliament and on its way to my desk for my enacting signature.”
Meanwhile Chakwera has suggested on the need for parliament to be empowered to able to keep security organs in check in the country following revelations of massive abuse of resources by the country’s security organs which he believes is as a result of lack of clearly defined laws guiding operations of such security organs.
Before taking to the podium Chakwera awarded medals to some renowned legal minds on the African continent who have greatly contributed to the formulation of laws on the bloc.
Among them were Malawi’s longeest serving lawyer Modecai Msisha who has practiced for 47 years and is one of the lawyers that drafted Malawi’s constitution.
Retired professor of law Edge Kanyongolo who has taught law for 36 years at the University of Malawi and abroad was also one of the awardees.
Earlier Malawi’s law professor Brigadier General Dan Kuwali was inducted in the AFBA Governing Council.
The African Bar Association Conference has drawn together over 750 delegates from across the continent.
The theme for this year’s conference is instituting an enduring legacy of transparent and accountable governance in Africa: Basic issues and roadmap.