Malawi

Malawi's judicial crisis deepens: resistance to gvmt moves placing CJ on immediate leave

Malawi remains tense after last weekend’s shock government announcement of action against the country’s Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda. The government said that, with immediate effect, it was sending him on leave ‘pending retirement’. That announcement galvanised the local and international community and led to protests in a number of Malawian cities. It also led to many statements of support for Malawi’s judiciary, including from other African Chief Justices.

After some weeks of threats against the judiciary, culminating last week in a series of statements of support for the judges (as reported on 11 June 2020), the government moved late Friday 12 June to put the Chief Justice of Malawi, Justice Andrew Nyirenda, on enforced leave. An offic

Judiciary in Malawi under threat – strong support offered

Growing animosity expressed by Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika against the country’s judiciary has provoked shocked reaction by two major legal bodies in Malawi, the Malawi Law Society and the Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi. Both strongly criticised the President’s comments. Now several leading international legal organisations have issued a statement supporting the judiciary and restating the need for its independence to be respected.

Since the high court of Malawi declared that national polls of 2019 were invalid, tension between the government and the judiciary has escalated. It has become even more intense following the supreme court’s ratification of the high court’s finding.

Judge Chifundo Kachale's appointment to head Malawi electoral commission welcomed

Regional media are falling over themselves to praise and welcome the appointment of Judge Chifundo Kachale as the new head of Malawi’s electoral commission. Judge Kachale was named by President Peter Mutharika last weekend along with the rest of the commission – some new names and some old. Judge Kachale takes over from Judge Jane Ansah whose commission came in for scathing criticism by the country’s supreme court for its handling of the now-discredited 2019 elections.

Despite criticism by the high court that initially found the 2019 elections defective, the head of Malawi’s electoral commission, Judge Jane Ansah refused to stand down. She steadily maintained she would not quit saying she and her commission had carried out their work properly. But on May 21 the inevitable happened: Judge Ansah resigned and the commission was left without a leader.

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