The Nation has since established the review will take long before the laws are finally taken back to Parliament for repeal. The Law Commission says the exercise has to go through “the usual law reform process applied to any other legislation under review.”
In an interview last week, Ministry of Justice spokesperson Apoche Itimu said: “Those laws were gazetted, making them active. So far, there is no provision making them inactive. Until they are repealed, [that] is only when they will be inactive.”
Law Commission spokesperson Sophie Nyirongo said the said laws have so far been incorporated into the commissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s annual work programme for 2012 and the process for the review will follow the usual law reform process.
Deputy chief law reform officer at the Malawi Law Commission Chikosa Silungwe said the appointment process of the Special Law Commission has already started and the commission is working in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.
But Malawi Law Society secretary Jabbar Alide described NyirongoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s explanation as just bureaucracy and a way of delaying the process.
Said Alide: “Who will the Law Commission be consulting? I thought they already made consultations? Do they want to tell us that they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know why the laws were referred to them?”
The repressive laws and sections which triggered an outcry from civil society and the public include: Sections 46, 137A, and 153 to 156 of the Penal Code; Section 10 of the Civil Procedure (Suits By or Against Government or Public Officers) Act; Section 35 of the Police Act; and the whole of the Local Courts Act.