“Please join me in applauding the Justices of the High Court and Supreme Court for earning Malawi high praise across the globe through their meticulous and transparent handling of the Constitutional case on the disputed 2019 Presidential election,” said Chakwera in his miden State of the nation Address.
The Malawi leader also hailed the judiciary for taking innovative approaches to he delivery of services, which among others, is the creation of some more divisions of the high court.
He said apart from the criminal, civil, commercial and revenue divisions of the high court, consultations were underway to establish the Probate and Family Division, as well as the Financial Crimes Division to fast track the disposal of corruption cases.
“This necessitates increasing the number of Judges of the High Court to support the new divisions, clear a backlog of cases, and ensure a fair distribution of work across the justice system. It also means improving both the number and distribution of courts across the country, with the goal of having Senior Resident Magistrates in all 28 Districts by the end of 2022,” he said.
As a prelude to these coming measures, 50 Non-Professional Magistrates are presently being recruited to be deployed to satellite courts throughout the country, and a functional review of the proposed reforms is about to be completed.
However, Chakwera bemoaned the tendency of underfunding the judiciary by the previous administrations, which he said was unacceptable.
“I therefore call upon this House to support my Administration’s measures to correct this and ringfence the Judiciary’s funding. It is not right to expect the Judiciary to be at the mercy of the Executive for its finances, nor to operate without proper infrastructure, courtrooms, or offices. The Judiciary has no opportunity to draft the budget or vote for its passage, so it is incumbent on this House to work with my Administration in ensuring that the Judiciary, its Officers, and its Staff are well provided for. There can be no New Malawi until our courts are able to administer justice without hindrance.
He then made a commitment to “leave no stone unturned until a beautiful Judiciary Headquarters is constructed across this Parliament Building.”