The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDED) has condemned President Lazarus Chakwera for appointing Judges to serve in foreign missions at a time when the Judiciary is faced with acute shortage of Judges.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said that Malawians are dismayed with this kind of appointments of Judges when the country has a pool of talent, and even career diplomats, that can ably represent the country and let honourable men and women of the bench allow Malawians enjoy the services of the Judiciary without undue hindrances.
Namiwa noted that the recent appointments at the Judiciary raise suspicions and speculations, especially the one that involves a Judge who has been handling a murder case that has dragged for over ten years.
He added that Malawians are now left wondering as to what becomes of the case of the murder case against Misonzi Chanthunya with Justice Esmie Chombo going away to the Embassy.
“This is the same Judge whose contract was also extended solely to conclude the case of Paul Mphwiyo connected to the Cashgate case. This, to say the least is smelly and unjustifiable. Her contract was extended on grounds that the case is complex and no any other judge would be able to take it unless the trial begins again.
“Now we have this development, what message is the Tonse administration sending? This development, to some extent, confirms our fear, and that of other Malawians, that there is a big political invisible hand behind the dragging of this case,” he said.
Namiwa also expressed concern over the appointment of Judge Agnes Patemba as the Deputy Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
He noted that since becoming a Judge a few months ago, Patemba has sent the right message to perpetrators of rape and defilement that their days are numbered by handing longer sentence, but she is now dubiously being asked to go to the United Kingdom.
Namiwa then appealed to President Lazarus Chakwera to reverse the appointments, saying the Judiciary already as a backlog of cases, with some citizens waiting for justice for as long as over 21 years!
“As they say, justice delayed is justice denied. We at CDEDI, would like to ask President Chakwera to reverse such unsound appointments and, instead, consider appointing more judges to the bench. Otherwise, we can safely construe that sending the judicial staff to the foreign missions is a ploy by the current administration to achieve its sinister motives by dangling carrots to people Malawians need more for the creation of a safer country,” he said.
He also appealed to the Malawi Law Society (MLS) to critically look at the appointments and take an action.