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Rule of law triumphs as top appointment set aside

Publish date: 10 June 2024
Issue Number: 1080
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

When Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera appointed a new director-general to lead the country’s troubled Immigration Department, the decision sparked a dispute over the appointee’s suitability. The department deals with issuing passports as well as with immigration, and its poor reputation for the handling of citizens’ travel documents angers and frustrates many Malawians. Not to mention a major hacking operation that recently paralysed the whole passport process. Now, less than two years down the line, the High Court has found the DG’s appointment illegal and unconstitutional, holding that long-retired soldier Brigadier-General Charles Kalumo must quit his position. It’s a controversial decision, and the government immediately tried to suspend its effect pending an appeal. But the High Court refused to stay the order, and it seems that Kalumo must stand down – at least until the appeal is heard and decided. Among some of Kalumo’s subordinates, however, the decision was immediately welcomed. In fact, writes Carmel Rickard in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site, it led to the cancellation of a strike demanding his removal and to jubilant dancing and singing in the street outside the department’s Blantyre offices.

A Matter of Justice

Malawi judgment

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