The Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi (MAJAM) has denounced a violence-mongering threat made by a Malawian citizen living in South Africa named Ben Longwe, who is urging Malawians to assault judicial officers by setting their homes, cars, and courthouses on fire. The threat by Longwe was issued via a voice tape that is making the rounds on social media in response to the recent legal rulings by the courts.
In a statement signed by the President of the said MAJAM, Howard Pemba, and Secretary-General Peter Kandulu, the threat by Longwe has been described as “criminal and unacceptable in a constitutional democracy such as Malawi.”
“Such attacks and threats infringe and seriously undermine the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary, which is fortified under the Republican Constitution. Judicial Officers take oath to work without fear or favour and their decisions are not supposed to be influenced by any other organ or individual. Any attempts at doing so amount to a contravention of the Republican Constitution,” reads the statement in part.
The statement further states that the general public must know that the law provides avenues for redress for any party aggrieved by the decision made by the courts.
“Any aggrieved party has a right to apply for review or appeal. In this regard, MAJAM urges any party dissatisfied with an order to either apply for review or appeal to the High Court if the matter was being handled by a Subordinate court or to the Supreme Court of Appeal if the matter was being handled by a High Court,” reads the statement.
Ben Longwe, a high-ranking cadet posing as a human rights advocate, was responding to the court’s decision to uphold Kondwani Nankhumwa’s injunction, which kept him in the position of Leader of the Opposition rather than George Chaponda, who had previously been chosen by another DPP faction. In his opinion, the Judge erred in doing so, which is why he urged people to attack Judges. The Malawi Police Service, meantime, has issued a statement denouncing the tape and urging Malawians not to take the call.