The Judiciary and Malawi Police Service (MPS) have expressed hope that newly rehabilitated magistrate’s courts and Victim Support Units (VSUs) will help improve service delivery to the benefit of the citizenry.
The projects are part of a 2016 financing agreement Malawi signed with the European Commission to implement Chilungamo Programme with financial contribution from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Speaking in Chitipa when the European Union (EU) handed over the reconstructed Chitipa Magistrate’s Court, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda said district courts handle the bulk of cases because of their wider jurisdiction.
He said access to justice should never be a luxury and privilege for the elite.
The Chitipa Magistrate’s Court has been rehabilitated to the tune of K60 million. It joins the list of other fully rehabilitated courts in Mulanje, Mwanza, Mchinji, Nkhotakota and Ntaja in Machinga. Rehabilitation works are in progress at Balaka, Rumphi and Likoma magistrate’s courts.
Speaking when she received a VSU at Rumphi, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Administration) Merlyn Yolamu promised that the service will continue working diligently.
She said: “The VSUs will provide such a conducive environment for provision of services such as counselling, first aid, security advice and referral services to survivors of crime particularly women, girls, children and people with albinism.”
EU Delegation to Malawi chargé d’affaires Aurelie Valtat pledged to continue to work towards improving access to justice and ensure that all marginalised groups access justice.
Apart from the Judiciary and Malawi Police, other beneficiary institutions are the Ministry of Justice, Legal Aid Bureau, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Office of the Ombudsman and Malawi Prison Services.
The Chilungamo Project has an eight-year lifespan from 2016 to 2023. It is funded under the 11th EDF.