High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise yesterday failed to hear a case where two pastors and a suspect want the court to lift a suspension of homosexual laws pronounced by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu in December 2015.
Around 8am yesterday, private practice lawyer George Kadzipatike entered the Mzuzu Court House to back written submissions of his three clients who find the moratorium unlawful and unconstitutional.
However, the lone resident judge at Mzuzu High Court Registry, Madise, will pass his verdict based on the submissions having failed to take charge of the inter-partes hearing which Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale was scheduled to attend.
Said Kadzipatike: “We are told the judge is busy, but he is expected to pass judgement at a later day. This is in order because his verdict will be informed by the written submissions all parties made.”
Private practice lawyer and Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Khumbo Soko and legal scholar Mwiza Nkhata had made the trip to Mzuzu to represent Centre for Development of the People (Cedep) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) who have joined the case as friends of the court.
Soko said: “Our matter is simple because we want to join in to help the court with research and legal opinion, but the judge may require a proper hearing on the other cases.”
For his part, Kaphale has asked the court to lift the injunction obtained by the trio in February which requires Malawi Police Service (MPS) to be arresting and prosecuting gays and lesbians despite the moratorium.
He also wants the court to discharge the police service, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the minister, saying the complainants—pastors Patrick Banda and Tusalifye Mbeye as well as suspect Christopher Kammasamba—have no “sufficient interest” in the matter because they have not directly suffered any harm due to the suspension of homosexuality laws, the submissions show.
Kaphale was spotted at the court where his team was expected to meet Kadzipatike whose clients accuse the Executive arm of government of usurping Parliament’s powers by suspending Section 153 of the Penal Code without authority from the Legislature.
Presently, government seems indecisive on the matter with President Peter Mutharika speaking of a referendum and the Justice Minister hinting at possible law reforms.