The High Court in Blantyre on Monday ordered Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to comply with a court order it earlier issued, requiring the communications regulator to allow its deputy director general Francis Bisika remain employed.
Bisika, whose renewed contract was withdrawn in November last year, obtained a court injunction which allowed him to continue working, but Macra defied the order after it prevented him from carrying on with his work.
Macra, which wanted the injunction vacated, argued earlier through its lawyer Madalitso Mmeta that the order was not clear and valid.
Macra’s argument followed an application for committal to prison of its top officials for defying the court order.
Bisika, who is being represented by Chancy Gondwe, wanted Macra officials, including its director general Godfrey Itaye, jailed for defying the court order.
But in his ruling on Monday, judge Mike Tembo dismissed Macra’s claim that the order was not clear and invalid, stressing it was clear on what is expected of Macra to do [to allow Bisika remain employed until judicial review of the matter is heard and a decision delivered].
The court further ordered Bisika to make a fresh application for committal proceedings.
Meanwhile, Bisika’s lawyer has given Macra up to Thursday this week to comply with the court order or they would proceed with committal to prison proceedings.
The court’s earlier order also stopped the Malawi Government from dictating the parastatal on Bisika’s employment contract.
Bisika sought the court relief after Macra withdrew his contract barely two weeks after the organisation’s extraordinary board meeting renewed it, according to a letter from Bisika’s lawyers to Macra board chairperson Mervis Mangulenje, who also risks to be committed to prison alongside Macra’s acting director of legal services Dan Chiwoni.
In the communication, Bisika argues that after he expressed interest for the renewal of his employment contract, Macra met and resolved to renew it for another three years. Thus, his contract of employment was renewed by Macra Board from October 19 2017.
Initially, Bisika was on contract for a period of three years effective October 14 2014.
“Whether out of sheer ignorance of the Communications Act or the board’s ineptitude, you wrote our client a letter dated 3rd November 2017 informing our client that government has not honoured his expression of interest for the renewal of his Employment Contract,” reads part of the letter signed by lawyer Gondwe.