* This is coming a few days after a discussion of a similar nature with particular reference to a Magistrate based in Blantyre
* It is clear that these threats are a reaction to the judicial decisions delivered recently
By Caroline Nyekanyeka
The Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi has revealed that a person identifying himself as Ben Longwe is threatening to attack Judicial officers by torching their homes, vehicles and court buildings.
In a statement of concern, the Judiciary says Longwe allegedly contacted the concerned officials “through a voice recording which is circulating on social media”, saying “this is coming a few days after a discussion of a similar nature that took place on a social media platform with particular reference to a Magistrate based in Blantyre”.
“It is clear that these threats are a reaction to the judicial decisions delivered recently,” says the statement. “MAJAM wishes to strongly condemn these acts which amount to inciting violence against judicial officers and the Judiciary as a whole, as it is criminal and unacceptable in a Constitutional democracy such as Malawi.
“Such attacks and threats infringe and seriously undermine the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary, which is fortified under the Republican Constitution.
“Judicial officers take oath to work without fear or favour and their decisions are not supposed to be influence by any other organ or individual and any attempts at doing so amount to a contravention of the Republican Constitution.”
The Judiciary further said “the law provides for avenues for redress for any party aggrieved by the decisions made by the courts” who have “a right to apply for review or appeal”.
“In this regard, MAJAM urges any party dissatisfied with an order to either apply for review or appeal to the High Court if the matter was being handled by a Subordinate court or to the Supreme Court of Appeal if the matter was being handled by the High Court.”
MAJAM further notifies the public that there exist the Complaints Management Committee and the Institutional Integrity Committee in the Malawi Judiciary set up, which have laid down mechanisms for handling complaints against judicial officers.
The two committees “have the responsibility to receive and resolve general and complaints relating to corruption respectively” and thus MAJAM encourages the public that “they can report to these committees if there are any reasonable suspicions of corruption or any irregularities and/or misconduct done by Judicial officers”.
“MAJAM fully appreciates the right to freedom of expression guaranteed to every individual under the Constitution and the fact that judicial pronouncement is not immune to public comment.
“However, it firmly believes that such discourse should focus and be limited to the merits of the decision and not spill over to personal attacks, or worse still inciting violence on judicial officers and their families.
“MAJAM firmly believes that Malawians will continue to respect judicial independence and the rule of law and calls upon all law enforcement agencies to play their role in bringing those in conflict of the law to book,” said the statement signed by president, Howard Pemba and secretary general, Peter Kandulu.