Malawi

Faced with 'wrongful allegations' of bribery, judge recuses herself

A prominent judge of Malawi’s high court has announced her recusal from a case involving the death of a woman allegedly at the hands of her husband. Judge Fiona Mwale has recused herself from the trial following claims by the family of the dead woman that bribe money had been collected to pay the presiding officer in the matter. She said that there was no truth in the claim, but that she felt she had to quit the trial so that the bribery allegation could be investigated.

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The contentious matter of recusal has emerged again. This time it takes the form of what could well be a deliberate attempt to force a judge to stand down from a controversial matter she has been hearing.

Police rape spree: huge compensation awarded by Malawi court

Thanks to the determined efforts of the women involved, no fewer than three recent decisions in Malawi have dealt with sexual assault, harassment or rape under extremely troubling circumstances. The trio of cases will surely act as a boost to awareness of women’s constitutional rights in Malawi, to add pressure on the police to investigate and on employers to act in cases of workplace sexual harassment.

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One of these three cases concerns workplace sexual harassment at the country’s broadcasting corporation, and resulted in a tough, far-reaching decision by Malawi’s Human Rights Commission.

Malawi's human rights commission recommends compensation for women sexually harassed by country's broadcasting boss

The women of Malawi had barely time to digest a landmark high court judgment ordering a company to pay ‘aggravated damages’ in a workplace sexual harassment matter, when a second, similar, high profile matter hit the news. This time it was a report from the Malawi Human Rights Commission which found the CEO of the country’s broadcasting corporation had sexually harassed women on the staff and recommended tough measures in response.

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