Malawi

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.

Malawi case flags growing threats to human rights, role of African Court

Almost every country in the world is experiencing a narrowing of peoples’ rights and freedoms because of government restrictions imposed in the name of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. But will these governments willingly give up their new powers as the contagion eases? And if not, where should the people of a state look for help, if their own courts uphold these infringements of fundamental rights? In Africa, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights would be the court to adjudicate serious rights issues like these.

Judgment of Supreme Court, Malawi, awarding costs against Charles Kajoloweka

Ruling by African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights on jurisdiction to hear Kajoloweka matter and staying enforcement of Malawi's order

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