President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has challenged the legal profession to be a catalyst for socio-economic development across the continent.
He was speaking in Lilongwe when he was officially opening the African Bar Association Conference at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC).
Chakwera said the social equitable growth has fruits in governance hence calls for the African Bar Association to be fuel that can help the Continent towards achieving the agenda.
He said the development in Africa will depend on the governance reform hence men and women in the Bar are important for the growth of Africa economically.
“We cannot have free trade that create wealth without laws and courts that ensure that all trade within and across our borders is fair. We cannot create jobs that make our people self-reliant without laws and courts that ensure that our wealth are not exploited. We cannot achieve those agendas without laws and courts that ensure that our families are protected from injustice.
“Even the government institutions to facilitate the goals need laws and courts that ensure that institutional corruption is never given a foothold.
He pointed out the constitutional court ruling that nullified results of the 2019 Fresh Presidential election as one clear example of the way the independent judiciary ought to operate.
“It is also worth noting that the fresh presidential election that followed that ruling was the most credible in Malawi’s democratic history, in large part because it was administered under the stewardship of an excellent member of our esteemed Judiciary, whose leadership single-handedly removed the stain that had been placed on our Judiciary by his predecessor, a feat for which he is owed the thanks of a grateful nation,” said Chakwera.
He added that his government is doing the reforms within the judicial system.
“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.
“ 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.”
Meanwhile Chakwera has suggested on the need for parliament to be empowered to able to keep security organs in check in the country following revelations of massive abuse of resources by the country’s security organs which he believes is as a result of lack of clearly defined laws guiding operations of such security organs.
President for African Bar Association Hanibal Huwaifo heaped praise on the Country’s Judiciary for raising the bar in the promotion of rule and law and enhancing the fight against corruption.
He said the African Bar will strive to help to overcome social injustices to uplift people’s livelihood.
“Am commending the Judiciary of Malawi for rising on to the occasion and am urging the continent to emulate Malawi’s judicial activities and anti-corruption fight which the government is striving to do,” said Huwaifo.
Vice President of Liberia urged all Bar members in Africa to rise above the standard and begin the process of reframing the governance environment for the transformation of the continent and the rule of law.
During the Conference, some renowned legal minds in the African continent who have greatly contributed to the formulation of laws on the bloc were awarded medals.
Among them were Malawi’s longeest 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 which is held under the theme of instituting an enduring legacy of transparent and accountable governance in Africa: Basic issues and roadmap has drawn together over 750 delegates from across the continent.