President Peter Mutharika has appointed former Solicitor General Antony Kamanga as a new Supreme Court judge.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed with Weekend Nation about the appointment.
“Yes I can confirm His Lordship Anthony Kamanga has been appointed as Judge of Supreme Court of Appeal. His appointment follows the vacant post which existed in the court,” said Mvula.
He said Kamanga is yet to be sworn in as Judge of Appeal, but he was quick to add that the appointment would help beef up the number of judges.
Mvula could not confirm as to when Kamanga’s appointment would be effective and advised Weekend Nation to ask Kamanga himself or the Judicial Service Commission for more details.
He, however, disclosed that there are also four vacant posts for judges of High Court which will be filled soon.
Mvula explained that the Judicial Service Commission makes recommendations to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) with a list of qualified personnel to be appointed as Judges of High Court or Supreme Court of Appeal.
“The Judiciary is an equal opportunity employer, to this end, the Judiciary upholds the policy of providing equal opportunity of employment based on merit to all qualified personnel regardless of race, origin and tribe,” said Mvula
Appointments of Judicial Officers are in accordance with Section 111 of the Constitution and any other relevant Act of Parliament.
When contacted Kamanga could not deny nor confirm about his appointment and said let’s wait for official announcement from government.
In reaction to the appointment, professor of law at the Cape Town University, Danwood Chirwa, said Kamanga was supposed to be redeployed in the civil service once his term ended by virtue of operation of law.
According to Chirwa, Kamanga’s senior position meant he could neither return to the Ministry of Justice nor be appointed to the High Court; hence, his appointment to the Supreme Court.
“The advantage of appointing Kamanga to the Supreme Court is that, as one of the longest serving legal draftsmen, he will be of immense help to the court in trying to figure out what was intended by the various laws that we have,” said Chirwa.
He explained that as the appeal court sits often to decide matters of legal interpretation and in a panel of at least three, his relative inexperience in actual litigation will not affect the quality of his judgements.
The law expert has, however, said he has not been impressed with poaching of Attorney Generals from the Judiciary and then returning them to the bench as this means that a member of the Judiciary is reduced to being a servant of the Cabinet and only returned after defending and advising the government in some of the most controversial policies, saying this undermines judicial independence.
” Where an Attorney General, who is a civil servant is appointed to the Judiciary as a permanent judicial officer, it is possible to talk of judicial independence in ways that it is not possible when we talk of poaching from the Judiciary, “he said
Kamanga holds a bachelor of laws, an LLM (Master of Laws) and a diploma in legal drafting.