The Commonwealth Secretariat has condemned the Executive’s attempt to send Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice Edward Twea on forced leave pending retirement.
The secretariat becomes the latest to bemoan the notice of retirement published on June 12 by Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara which has promoted a stand-off between the Executive and Judiciary arms of government.
In a statement on Malawi’s situation issued yesterday and attributed to a Commonwealth spokesperson, the secretariat calls on government to respect separation of powers.
Reads the statement in part: “The Commonwealth family is deeply concerned about the stalemate between the Executive and the Judiciary in Malawi. We urge all stakeholders to adhere to the Constitution.
“As Malawi prepares to hold its fresh presidential election, I would like to encourage all political actors and stakeholders to respect these values and follow faithfully and loyally the spirit and the letter of Malawi’s Constitution.”
Following Muhara’s letter, academics, civil society groups and law associations from the country and beyond have issued statements condemning government.
Minister of Information and Civic Education Mark Botomani yesterday declined to comment on the Commonwealth statement, saying he was yet to read it.
However, Botomani’s office issued a statement yesterday saying the Chief Justice has accumulated 572 leave days and must proceed on leave.
The statement added that the Chief Justice will not be the first judicial officer to proceed on leave pending retirement.
Following Muhara’s statement, the Judiciary released its own statement stressing that the Chief Justice would remain in office.