Access to justice has been put on hold following a sit-in by judicial officers across the country.
The officers who include Magistrates and Judges demand that the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development pay them housing allowances, other benefits and arrears dating back from July 2016.
Confirming the development, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said they have been negotiating with government to pay their housing allowances since 2012.
According to Mvula, government through the ministry of finance negotiated with the judicial officers to allow it pay them housing allowance arrears from July 2016 and not 2012 considering the current financial challenges which they agreed to but the ministry is yet to implement that, hence the sit-in.
Said Mvula: “All these years we have been negotiating with our counterparts in the other executive arm of government to implement the housing allowances which were duly approved by Parliament in 2012, but all they are doing is playing hide and seek games.
“Two weeks ago the Conditions of Service Committee went to Lilongwe to meet representatives from the Ministry of Finance where they said they were waiting for the Minister’s approval. We gave them a seven-day ultimatum to implement that but to no avail.”
Mvula further added that the sit-in will go on until they are assured that “come this month end (February) we will receive our housing allowances with arrears.”
Mvula, could not however, say if the appeal case involving the suspension of George Chaponda as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development will not run in the court this afternoon.
“Let us wait and see, if the judges handling the cases decide to go on with the case that will be well and good but as of now no courts are running,” he confirmed.
Hearing of the appeal case is scheduled to start at 2 pm at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre.