The Judiciary says there is nothing strange with courts issuing orders amid the ongoing junior support strike that has paralysed the country’s justice delivery system for a while.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula, in an exclusive interview yesterday, said what drives a court to issue an order amid a strike is the legal framework. He said it is within the law for a court to issue an order as long as an application has been made to the judge first.
Said Mvula: “Issuing of an order amidst a strike is up to an individual judge or magistrate. The judge or magistrate first looks at the urgency of the issue and depending on humankind, sees it in oneself to issue an order.”
However, Mvula was quick to point out that there are no judgements that are being delivered ever since the Judiciary went on strike, but the courts are able to issue orders.
He added that depending on urgency, a magistrate or judge can handle a case without court clerks or marshals.
Mvula’s explanation followed an inquiry by The Nation on the justification for continued issuance of orders by courts while the strike is still on.
On December 23 2014, the Chilangoma Magistrate’s Court in Chileka issued a protection order to a husband against his wife pending divorce proceedings.
“Having heard all what he [plaintiff] had to say in his application for a protection order and legal separation, this court grants the plaintiff the protection order,” read the order by the magistrate.
But private practice lawyer Chancy Gondwe, representing the wife in the case, said he is finding it difficult to challenge the court order due to the strike.
In November this year, at the peak of the Judiciary support staff strike, Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Ruth Chinangwa granted an order restraining businessperson and Cashgate suspect Pika Manondo from accessing his money from a bank.
Manondo’s bank account had been frozen, but the prosecution sought a new order.