constitution

Judicial independence infringed when Uganda's Chief Justice has to 'plead' for funds - constitutional court

Uganda’s constitutional court has found that the independence of the country’s judiciary is in jeopardy because of the way the budget of this arm of government is handled. In one of its most significant decisions under the present constitution, the court said the system made the judiciary very much the junior branch in the three arms of government, and often reduced the Chief Justice ‘to pleading for funds from the executive’.

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In this landmark case the Uganda law society made an alarming claim: the country’s executive and legislature had failed to help the judicial arm of government take its rightful place under the constitution. In doing so, they undermined the independence of the judiciary.

Former President, Judge, both ordered to pay legal costs from their own pockets

In a further stunning reversal for Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, he and a former high court judge, Lloyd Muhara, have been ordered personally to pay the legal costs of a case brought to reverse a major decision taken by them just before the elections at which Mutharika was voted out of office. By that decision they hoped to force the Chief Justice to go on leave, pending retirement, in retaliation for a judicial decision finding that the May 2019 elections were invalid.

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Malawi’s judiciary has done it again, handing down a landmark decision that underscores judicial independence and the separation of powers, as well as the heavy price to be paid for anyone who attempts to do so.

The story begins with Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, who had some harsh and dubious things to say about the judiciary and its power relative to the legislature.

More than 20 Kenyan laws nullified after National Assembly disregards Senate

As the still-unresolved fight over the number of women in Parliament shows, Kenya’s constitution is very much a work in progress, with continuing disputes over what its text means exactly and how seriously to take clauses that some parties dismiss as merely ‘aspirational’. The latest case to be decided by the courts on gaps or possible ambiguities in the constitution concerns the very serious question of how the Senate and the National Assembly must relate to one another.

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The idea that one of the two houses of a country’s Parliament should sue the other is almost unthinkable – until you realise that this is Kenya, where the meaning of much of the Constitution is still to be interpreted.

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