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Malawi Lawyer Says Government Is Intimidating the Judiciary

The Malawi Law Society will today (Wednesday) hold a news conference to formally protest a raid on a judge’s home by the country’s anti-corruption agency. The raid came hours after High Court Judge Joseph Mwanyungwe ruled against President Bingu Wa Mutharika’s order for parliament to debate and pass the national budget. Mutharika has accused the judiciary of working with the opposition against his government. But the judiciary has dismissed the president’s allegation.

Viva Nyimba is a practicing Malawi attorney. From the commercial capital, Blantyre, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government, by its action, is intimidating the judiciary.

“Personally, I’m very disappointed in what the government is doing. It’s trying to create threats against anybody who makes a decision against it, and this is very disappointing indeed. It is creating fear in everybody, and I think the intention is that the government wants this country to slide back into one party state again,” Nyimba noted.

He said the Malawi Law Society would hold a news conference Wednesday to announce its displeasure with the government’s ill treatment of High Court judge Joseph Mwanyungwe.

“I think the Law society will be making an official statement today, and they have just met, and we are just waiting for an official statement… I’m quite sure that all the members of the law society are totally against what the government is doing because it is trying to create fear in everybody’s mind,” he said.

Nyimba condemned what he describes as the one-party state mentality of the Mutharika administration.

“I have always thought that this government has got an agenda, to make this country a one party state again… because this government doesn’t want any opposition. And it wants everybody to tow its line,” Nyimba pointed out.

He denied President Mutharika has invited opposition parties for a dialogue to resolve the brewing political tension in the country.

“I have been in this country, the president has never invited members of the opposition for dialogue. It appears the word dialogue doesn’t exist in the mind of the president,” he said.