Access to justice is not the only cost of the current Judiciary junior staff strike. The Malawi Law Society (MLS) says the economy has lost unspecified billions of kwacha because of the sit-in.
MLS president John-Gift Mwakhwawa on Wednesday said it would be difficult to quantify the loss incurred from disruption of cases in company agreements, tied-up money for companies from delayed court judgements and penalties, and interest companies have accumulated because of delayed resolution of cases.
Mwakhwawa said accessing of deceased estate from the Administrator GeneralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office has also been affected by the strike.
Said Mwakhwawa: Ã¢â‚¬Å“For individual MLS members, they, too, are losing out on daily basis, but I cannot divulge such information because I will be prejudicing our members.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said government has no excuse for failing to raise the K1.2 billion (about $7.2 million) for paying salary arrears for the Judiciary staff dating back to 2006.
Mwakhwawa also questioned how the same government would prioritise payment of mid-term gratuity for MPs against the full operational of a judicial system in the name of lack of funds.
Said Mwakhwawa: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Priority of whatever available resources should have gone to the Judiciary by paying their outstanding arrears. The strike has gone for too long already and it is undermining the judicial independence, operations and legitimacy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Parliament sources told the media last month that some legislators got their gratuity half way through their terms of office as advances.
Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati said it is wrong to compare MPs gratuity and the judicial arrears because they are two separate things.