Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Law and National Interest

Law is unfair by its nature, Dr Ngeyi Kanyongolo of University of Malawi's Faculty of Law once told me.

Not just unfair. Law is blind to national needs of Malawi. Take the shortage of foreign exchange, for example. We have no forex to import essential commodities. We know some of the economic causes of this forex dry spell. And we know the economic solutions.

One of them is to close forex bureaux that are not doing what economics demands for the growth of our country.

The result was a dilemma of law versus national interest. Even President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika cannot understand law (or lawyers as he said in a recent one hour interview with TVM). Why is law not for national development?

Perhaps this is an unfair questions. Law is for development. This is the reason our government has a Ministry of Justice. It is part of national development. No doubt about that.

The challenge comes in when individuals have to take the whole country into prosperity or poverty with their verdicts as happened last year when the courts reversed government closure of some forex bureaux.

“Last year, I said we should close bureaux to save the money but somebody in the courts said no. They said I am interfering with the Judiciary. I am saying the Judiciary is interfering with me. It does not make sense. It makes me mad. It makes me angry. In future, I will put stringent measures. I don’t care who says what. I am fed up,” said President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.

Can the Judiciary interfere with something else aprt from its own professional interference (checks and balances)? The Judiciary is assumed the arm of government that does not make mistakes; one that does not need presssure from any sector of the world population.

But law is not the ultimate. Different parts of development work together. Law should respect solutions from outside itself. Law should learn to listen to other disciplines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your style of writing mzati. I love it