The Judiciary yesterday mourned retired Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo who died aged 71 at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, describing him as a fearless and ardent defender of the rule of law.
In an interview yesterday, High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Gladys Gondwe said the Judiciary is saddened by the death of Munlo and that he will be remembered as a judicial officer who inspired many.
She said: “He left an indelible mark and was a wonderful colleague who was always there to share experiences with those of us that are coming behind him in service. He will be missed as a truly fallen hero.”
Gondwe said Munlo was a decisive and practical leader who raised the profile of the country’s Judiciary in a number of respects.
On his part, Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Patrick Mpaka described Munlo’s death as “a loss of unimaginable proportions” to the legal profession and the nation at large.
He said: “He served in nearly every senior position in the profession and contributed extensively to most of the progressive foundations that we are building on now. May his soul rest in peace.”
Extending President Lazarus Chakwera’s condolences, State House director of communications and executive assistant to the President Sean Kampondeni said the President was saddened with the death of Munlo, who competed against him during the 2013 Malawi Congress Party (MCP) convention.
“The President described Munlo as somebody who was a critical figure in the strengthening of the justice system in Malawi,” he said.
In her tribute, former president Joyce Banda, who was sworn in as President by Munlo in April 2012, said his death was shocking, considering that his family lost former ambassador to Ethiopia and India, Isaac Munlo, nine days ago.
She said: “In the history of this land, he will be remembered as one that swore in the first female President into power. Secondly, he played a very significant role in ensuring that the Constitution was finally respected and for that I will always have respect for him.”
Munlo was appointed Chief Justice on May 2 2008 before his early retirement in April 2013 to contest for the MCP presidency.
Munlo’s niece Jacqueline Kapachika said the former Attorney General and minister of Justice was rushed to hospital two weeks ago after being taken ill. She said he will be laid to rest tomorrow at Chigodi in Kachere Township, Blantyre near Chiradzulu Turn-Off. Born on May 1 1950, Munlo is survived by a wife, two children, 13 grandchildren and 55 great grandchildren