Lawyers in the country have been urged to be fearless watchdogs of the country’s judicial integrity if they do not want virtue to go away because they (lawyers) are guardians of the society.
Speaking on Friday when he was guest of honour at the annual conference of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi, First Merchant Bank (FMB) group chairperson Hitesh Anadkat also urged the lawyers to consider about how justice delivery for the poor is difficult and what they (lawyers) can do to solve the situation.
“There is need for you to think about what the Judiciary used to be like in the past. Think of what the society thinks about you and what you can do to bring back the glory. There is no harm for you to devote your three to four hours a week to do pro bono services in the country’s prisons.
“That could make a huge difference to the country’s state of prisons where the population of prisoners is huge compared to the space and the food provisions mainly because of delays in delivery of justice and because the poor cannot afford justice,” said Anadkat.
In his response, MLS outgoing president John Suzi Banda said the society has got several programmes where its lawyers usually devote their time and expertise to represent people who cannot afford legal representation.
“Worth noting is that here in Malawi there are about 400 lawyers against a population of over 17 million people. This number is little but also most lawyers are concentrated in the cities whereas most of the country’s population is in villages as such the law society has been going with its lawyers in the villages to provide legal and law clinics on pro bono services.
“We have several programmes where we have been helping women and juvenile delinquents. We are aware this is not enough, there is more that we can do, and I am sure that many lawyers are willing to help Malawians and these programmes will continue in future,” said Suzi Banda.
The conference, which had the presence of notable faces such as Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Lucas Kondowe, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor Charles Chuka and Judge of the High Court of Malawi Commercial Division John Katsala, also included presentations from various lawyers on different topics in tandem with the theme ‘Promoting Sustainable Economic Development in Malawi through a Sound Legal and Regulatory Investment Framework.’
The lawyers, on Saturday, held their annual general meeting where they elected new office bearers. Former honorary secretary Khumbo Bonzoe Soko was elected president whereas David Matumika Banda was elected vice president.
Others include Michael Goba Chipeta as honorary secretary; Felister Dossi as treasurer and Burton Mhango, Martha Kaukonde and Tadala Chinkwezule as members.