Parliament has passed the Constitution Amendment Bill which creates the position of Deputy Chief Justice at the Judiciary.
The bill initially had a clause that said the president could appoint Judges on contract with the idea that such Judges would help clear cases involving their special area of expertise.
But Government removed the clause after backlash from members of the general public.
Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo said the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament had a meeting with the Malawi Law Society, Solicitor General and the Judiciary itself where the decision to remove the clause was made.
Another clause seeking to raise retirement age for Chief Justice to 70 years was also removed and the retirement age will be maintained at 65.
Some Legislators, however, argued that creating the position of Deputy Chief would lead to a waste of public resources as the office will expand government’s wage bill. Others argued that the position would create conflicts.
“If we bring a deputy Chief Justice, these people will be fighting as seen in the case where the President and Vice President do not get along therefore this issue will jeopardize the Judiciary,” said MP for Machinga North East constituency Ajilu Kalitendere.
Leader of Government in the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said the proposal for creating the office of the Deputy Chief Justice and the other deleted proposals were made by the Judiciary and not the Executive.
The Constitution Amendment Bill also has other parts including clauses adding oversight as one of the roles of Parliament. It also has provisions on remuneration for Speaker of Parliament and all deputies.
The bill further makes the Parliamentary Service Commission into a constitutional body just like the Malawi Electoral Commission and it also increases the tenure of Defence and Security Committee of Parliament from one year to 2.5 years.