Malawi Government has indefinitely suspended the works of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the judiciary with effect from Tuesday this week, Malawi24 has established.
A well placed source confided to Malawi24 that to effect the suspension, government has issued a directive to the Malawi Police to seal off all office building belonging to the ACB and Judiciary respectively and stop people from getting in the premises.
The directive, our source understands, follows the recent decision by judiciary to snub government’s proposed 20% pay rise.
“The Judiciary does not accept the ‘offer’ from Central Government to increase Judicial Officer’s salaries up to 20% beyond that which is received by corresponding grades in the Civil Service. Or that the Judiciary Support Staff salaries be increased to the extent that they are harmonised with those of corresponding grades in the Civil Service” reads part of the letter signed by chairperson of the Working Committee on Terms and Conditions of Service of the Judiciary, Justice Lovemore Chikopa directed to the Chief Secretary, George Mkondiwa.
“The Judiciary’s position remains that such an ‘offer’ is against the express dictates and spirit of the Laws of Malawi and is therefore incapable of acceptance. Certainly not by the Malawi Judiciary whose mandate is inter alia to without discrimination protect, safeguard and be a custodian of the laws of this Republic.” Chikopa added
The source further revealed that Government has suspended salaries for the judicial workers from December until the standoff is resolved.
“The directive is aimed at forcing the striking officers to accept government’s proposed pay rise rather than the one demanded by the workers themselves” alleged our source who asked for anonymity.
While addressing the media last week, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Goodall Gondwe, maintained that the government has no intentions of increasing the pay for the judicial staff and that the strike was illegal.
The strikes by ACB and judicial workers have stalled some top cases in the courts including those to do with the Cashgate scandal.