Separation of powers

‘Cry-baby’ politician should not have brought party political case to court – judge

When Malawian politician Shadrick Namalomba asked for judicial intervention on the question of where he should sit in the national assembly, Judge Mzonde Mvula set him straight. Such issues were not appropriate for the courts to consider, he said. It was clearly an issue related to conflict within the official opposition, and for a variety of reasons, it should never have been brought to court.

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During March, Shadrick Namalomba, a member of Malawi’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), asked the court to intervene in a dispute he had with his party. In particular, he wanted the leader of the DPP to be stopped from allocating him to seat 99 and later, to seat 100, for parliamentary debate.

Dispute over sitting Ugandan judges appointed to head prosecution arm

Is a sitting judge allowed to take a job as head of his or her country’s prosecution services? And if a court finds that it was unconstitutional for the judge to accept the second position, what is the status of the judge’s decisions as a prosecutor? These, and difficult, related questions, have been raised in Uganda, where a series of judges have been appointed to other government jobs, without first resigning from the bench.

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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.

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