The day Malawi judiciary went on the streets- demands independence

Lawyers in the country on wednesday took the street to march demanding that Governement respects the constitution and promote the independence of the judiciary

The borne of contention is the notice of leave pending retirement for Malawi’s Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda which Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara issued last week coupled with President Peter Mutharika’s continued attacks on the judiciary.

In Lilongwe, the lawyers marched to the Lilongwe district court registry. They sang a National Anthem before beginning the march. Notable faces on a march included counsels Chikosa Silungwe, Khumbo Soko and Khwima Mchizi and HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence.

Trapence who is leader of Human Rights Defenders Coalition said other people joined the lawyers in solidarity to protect the constitution.

“A generation that we are in, is a generation that no one can trample upon,” saysTrapence.

Another Lilongwe based lawyer Andy Kaonga says any attempts to frustrate the judiciary will not be tolerated.He urges the Executive arm of Government to accept and respect court orders warning that lawful ways will be used to stop anyone from undermining the role of the Judiciary.

Meanwhile in Blantyre veteran lawyer Mordecai Msiska led the procession.”The constitution is not a paper; let alone a dead piece of paper. It is the will of the people. It is the people speaking,” says Senior Counsel Mordeccai Msisha who received a loud applause as he grabbed the mic in Blantyre

In Zomba Professor of law Garton Kamchedzera read a document containing the lawyers’ stand.

Senior Counsel Chikosa Silungwe who was among the Lilongwe demos has challenged the Executive that Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea will not leave their offices.

He says: “The Chief Justice does not leave the office by public notice. In the Republic of Malawi, we know how the Chief Justice leaves and it is not by public notice. Chief Justice Nyirenda and Twea are going no where.”

Lawyer Victor Gondwe reads out the petition in Mzuzu. The lawyers say they will see to it that nobody tampers with constitutionalism, “tell the executive to get hands-off the Judiciary.