President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has emphasized the need for a transparent and accountable judiciary on the African continent to support governance and development.
The President was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday when he presided over the annual general conference of the African Bar Association-AFBA which Malawi is hosting for the first time.
Addressing delegates to the four-day conference Dr Chakwera underscored the need for African countries to have an independent and transparent judiciary if respective administrations are going to deliver effective leadership to their people.
“I cannot think of any aspect of Africa’s development that does not depend on governance reform, and I cannot think of any aspect of governance reform that does not depend on justice reform.”
The Malawi leader highlighted some of the key reforms his government is undertaking within the judiciary.
“The first is our policy of steadily raising the allocation of financial resources to the Judiciary in the national budget until we reach our desired goal of a minimum of 3%.
A second correction is our policy of placing the most accomplished and capable of our judicial officers on the top benches of our justice system, which ensures that errors in judgement in our lower courts can ably be corrected before the higher courts.
A third correction we have been pursuing is the legislative creation of special courts to expedite certain categories of cases of great national interest, and as I speak, the Courts Amendment Bill, which establishes the Financial Crimes Division of the High Court, has just been passed by Parliament and on its way to my desk for my enacting signature,” said Dr Chakwera.
Before taking to the podium Chakwera awarded medals to some renowned legal minds on the African continent who have greatly contributed to the formulation of laws on the bloc.
Among them were Malawi’s longe4st serving lawyer Modecai Msisha who has practiced for 47 years and is one of the lawyers that drafted Malawi’s constitution.
Retired professor of law Edge Kanyongolo who has taught law for 36 years at the University of Malawi and abroad was also one of the awardees. Earlier Malawi’s law professor Brigadier General Dan Kuwali was inducted in the AFBA Governing Council.
The African Bar Association Conference has drawn together over 1500 delegates from across the continent.
The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Instituting an enduring legacy of transparent and accountable governance in Africa: Basic issues and roadmap’