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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 12:24 GMT
Malawi judges strike for big cars
LandCruiser Prado (Copyright: Toyota)
The judges originally wanted Mercedes or BMWs but settled for Toyota Prados
Judges in Malawi are holding their first industrial action, demanding a new fleet of four-wheel drive cars.

They say they are conducting a go-slow until the government agrees to replace 26 old cars - a promise made by former President Bakili Muluzi.

The attorney general said it was unfortunate the new president was being punished for Mr Muluzi's unkept pledge.

But he said the government was working hard to meet the judges demands. Five Toyota Prados were now on order.

"It's unfortunate that President Bingu wa Mutharika's administration is being punished for unfulfilled promises of the Muluzi administration," Attorney General Ralph Kasambara told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

But High Court Registrar Sylvester Kalembera said the judges decided to take the unprecedented move because most of the judges' cars are rickety and need constant attention, thereby inconveniencing them.

State-of-the-art

Despite repeated reminders to the ministry of justice, no cars had been forthcoming, the judges said.

The go-slow, which began on Thursday, will continue until their demands are met, they say.

Only the most important cases relating to serious crimes are being heard.

Most of us judges have had our official Toyota Corollas for more than 10 years
Malawi judge
According to the BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre, most of the judges were present in the court building on Thursday but and spent most of the day reading newspapers in their chambers.

One member of the judiciary said that when a new cabinet is appointed, a fleet of expensive cars is procured for them almost immediately.

"But most of us judges have had our official Toyota Corollas for more than 10 years."

Mr Kalembera said the judges had originally demanded Mercedes Benz cars or BMWs, but the government told them those brands were too expensive.

The judges settled for state-of-the-art but less-expensive Toyota Prados, our correspondent says.

"I am meeting the attorney general on Monday in Lilongwe to find a solution to the crisis," Mr Kalembera said.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Malawi
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles


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