Malawi Information Minister insists Chief Justice should go on leave

…Tells him to use leave to write book, reflect on his career

Minister of Information Mark Botomani says government finds it proper for Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda to go on leave pending retirement so that he could write a book or reflect on his career.

In a statement on Tuesday, Botomani said that Chief Justice Nyirenda will reach the retirement age of 65 on 26 December 2021. He then claimed that Nyirenda has accumulated 572 leave days.

He also noted that Section 12 (2b) of the Judiciary Conditions of Service states that “a judicial officer may opt to carry forward accumulated leave days towards retirement.”

He added that it is best practice for Judicial officers to proceed on leave pending retirement. The minister gave the examples of Lovemore Munlo and Anastanzia Msosa who proceeded on leave pending retirement.

“It is for this reason that Government finds it proper that the Honourable Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda should enjoy his leave days, with his family, while still enjoying full benefits of his office.

“His Lordship is author of several scholarly and practical articles and a book titled “A Comparative Analysis of the Human Rights Chapter Under the Malawi Constitution in An International Perspective.”

“It is the wish of Government that the Honourable Chief Justice could use his holiday to reflect on his career and probably write his biography and/or other books that would be useful to the law practice and other fields,” said Botomani.

According to the minister, Nyirenda started working in the civil service in 1980 and became a Judge in 1994. In 2008, he was appointed as Justice of Supreme Court of Appeal and he rose to Chief Justice in 2015.

On Sunday, the Judiciary said Nyirenda’s leave days are less than the number being claimed by the Executive arm of government. Registrar of High Court and Supreme Court Agnes Patemba said earlier this week that Nyirenda is still in office.

The attempts to force Nyirenda out of the Judiciary comes after the Constitutional Court nullified the 2019 elections in which President Peter Mutharika was declared winner. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court last month.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Mutharika has been accusing the Judiciary of being part of a plot for regime change.