Some members of Malawi Law Society (MLS) have hatched a plot to topple their executive, accusing it of failing to manage their affairs, including the recent MEC hiring of foreign lawyers.
The concerned members, who have solicited signatories to a petition that required at least a third of the members, want the president of the lawyers’ body Burton Mhango to call for an extra-ordinary general meeting to facilitate their move to topple the leadership.
One of the lawyers leading the move, who opted not to be named, said in an interview on Saturday they have surpassed the threshold of a third of the members to sign the petition.
He said: “We will be delivering the petition, probably by Monday. We will indicate the date we want to have the extra-ordinary meeting.
“The MLS executive is rotten, we want to make things right at the top level for the betterment of our profession.”
The concerned lawyers want to ask Mhango, his deputy Patrick Mpaka and honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde to step down, arguing they have failed to defend and promote local lawyers by encouraging MEC to hire lawyers from South Africa in the presidential elections case while there are many capable lawyers in Malawi.
According to a thread of their discussion on social media, the lawyers also accuse MLS executive of failing to properly represent them as friends of the court in the presidential elections case in the High Court’s Constitutional Court, with Mhango and his team failing to produce a report thereafter.
“Due to the recent procurement and admission of lawyers from a foreign jurisdiction that have adverse impact on the legal profession in Malawi, some members of the Malawi Law Society have thought it wise to petition the chairman…to convene an extra-ordinary general meeting,” wrote one of the lawyers.
Aware of the move, the MLS executive swiftly rolled into action and wrote a letter dated March 12 2020 to its general members signed by Kaukonde and headlined Executive advice note on the intended petition for an extra-ordinary general meeting.
MLS observed that it noted from the social media that some members were mobilising signatures for the petition to call for an extra-ordinary general meeting as provided for under section 77(4) of the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act, 2017.
Reads in part the letter: “The executive committee welcomes this development and the show of interest by the membership on matters concerning the society and looks forward to receiving such a petition at an appropriate time as the membership may determine.”
But MLS said it needed to share information with the membership which may be relevant as the membership develops the intended petition, advising that their president, Mhango and the society’s chief executive officer Mzati Kidney Mbeko were in Angola attending to official duties.
“They are expected back in the country on Monday 16th March 2020. The committee considers that the presence of these statutory office bearers intended petition and calls upon the membership to take this into account when proposing dates for the extra-ordinary general meeting,” it reads.might be critical to managing the
The executive, which was ushered into office in 2019 for a two-year tenure, asked members to, as much as possible, maintain professionalism and the usual decorum associated with the legal profession.
At the National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting in Blantyre on Friday, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said elections body opted for foreign lawyers because all local lawyers of the Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale level, declined to offer their services.
She said the Constitutional Court ordered the AG not to continue representing MEC at the Supreme Court.