The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has asked the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (AG), through President Joyce Banda, to ask Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo to step down as chairperson of Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
President Banda recently accused Munlo in an interview with The Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom of being among the judges who were waiting at former minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Professor Peter Mutharikaâ€™s house, ready to swear him as Head of State after his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika died of cardiac arrest on April 5 2012.
MLS, in a letter dated May 10 2012 addressed to the President, said Minister of Justice and AG Ralph Kasambara should initiate by request investigations by the JSC into the allegations of the involvement of the Chief Justice and other judges in the alleged scheme to subvert the constitutional order on the filling of the vacancy created after Mutharikaâ€™s death.
The MLS said there is need for Kasambara to facilitate the appointment of an acting chairperson of JSC, to oversee the investigations into the grave allegations levelled against the Chief Justice and other judges.
Writes MLS in the letter: â€œ[The JSC should] allow the chief justice to relieve himself from acting as chairman of the [JSC] to allow the commission properly investigate the allegations.â€
The society said the President made grave allegations against the Chief Justice and it asked her to take necessary steps to establish and inform the nation how the transition was managed and allow relevant authorities to take necessary steps depending on the sufficiency of such information.
Further, MLS said theÂ information available continues to have serious implications on the integrity, standing and public confidence in not only the person, but also the very office of the chief justice and his fellow colleagues.
Immediately after Mutharikaâ€™s death, Cabinet ministers held meetings in an effort to prevent the swearing in of the then vice-president Banda.
Some Cabinet ministers spilled the beans to Banda what was going on. Banda told The Guardian that it took Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Henry Odillo to save the situation by supporting her to respect the constitutional order.
Banda was sworn in as President on April 7.
Several people have since called for Munloâ€™s resignation, arguing after such grave allegations, the position is untenable.
Munlo has refused to comment on the matter, but argued he knows his rights.