Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

21 June 2013

Malawi: Msosa Confirmed Malawi's First Female Chief Justice

Lilongwe — Justice Anastasia Msosa, SC, is Malawi's new Chief Justice as Members of Parliament Friday unanimously confirmed her appointment to lead the Judiciary arm of Government.

This is in accordance with section 111 (1) of the Republic of Malawi's Constitution which requires her confirmation.

Out of 118 of members present, a whooping 117 yes votes confirmed her appointment with only 1 abstaining from voting through a ballot box vote. There was no vote against the appointment.

The House overwhelmingly praised Msosa who got her Bachelors in Law from the University of Malawi in 1975 and described her as a woman of integrity, qualified, sober minded, objective in her pursuits and full of contemporary legal knowledge.

Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara moved a motion during government business for parliament to vote on the appointment of the 63 year old married mother and senior legal practitioner describing her as the best candidate for the office.

"Justice Msosa has risen from the ranks as a state advocate in the civil service, to the chief legal officer in the legal aid department. She was appointed legislator general, judge in the high court, promoted as judge in the Supreme Court and honoured as Senior Counsel in 1997.

"All in all, she has exhausted all positions in the legal profession and in the process she has gained respect and recognition in Malawi and abroad. She is the most fitting person to occupy the highest position of Chief justice," he said.

He further acclaimed Msosa for the respect she gained in the country's first multi-party elections in 1994 which were described as free and fair countrywide and outside.

He also cited her appointment as the chairperson of the Election Commission which he said is 'a rare privilege where one is recognised as a fair person who can discharge duties when the nation needs her the most.'

Msosa's appointment as Malawi's first ever female Chief Justice seemed certain immediately after the motion was raised as it attracted applause from the members.

Contributions from party representatives also cemented the looming appointment as all comments hailed Msosa and commended the President Dr Joyce Banda for the appointment.

Leader of the House Henry Phoya was the first to second the motion and said there would be no better person to fill the position.

"I have been in the House for some time, I witnessed several positions needing the house's approval; but never have I seen anything like this. We are giving this 100 per cent support and we hope she will rise to the occasion," he said

Malawi Congress Party representative Alekeni Menyani described the nomination of Msosa as something which has taken into consideration several factors such as seniority, experience, integrity and long service.

However, he cautioned her on what lies ahead: "She will have to deal with challenges currently in the Malawi legal system like backlog of cases, Malawians dying in prisons while on remand and the complexities of some laws dating years back," said Menyani. Dr. George Chaponda on behalf of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Msosa has made certain rulings in the high court which depict her objectivity and also other rulings which rose above party politics.

United Democratic Front through Mahmud Lali said the party has confidence in the nominated chief justice.

Announcing the results, Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda said: "This means Parliament has confirmed the nomination of Justice Msosa, SC, as the Chief Justice of Malawi in accordance with section 111(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.

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