Lawyer Modecai Msisha turns down ministerial position

Modecai Msiska

Private practice lawyer Modecai Msisha, SC, has turned down his June 29 appointment as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs by Malawi’s new President Lazarous Chakwera.

In a media interview, Msisha, SC attributed his refusal to among others commitments to his staff at Nyirenda & Msisha Law Offices, a private law firm that he runs.

“It is true that I advised that I could not take up the appointment for personal reasons, to do with certain matters and preferences and obligations to my staff at the law that I run.

Modecai Msisha
Msisha (L) with Titus Mvalo during the presidential election case

“More importantly, I feel that having been lead counsel in the presidential elections case, my getting on into the administration as Minister of Justice, would unduly influence the processes that the government system has to address,” he said adding there were also other younger legal minds capable of taking up the post.

Msisha was among four other ministers named in a partial cabinet announced by the President Chakwera. They included Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu, Richard Chimwendo Banda the Minister of Homeland Security and Vice President Saulos Chilima the Minister of Economic Planning and Development.

Msisha has been a legal practitioner for 45 years that followed five years of study at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi. He has worked as State Prosecutor, Legal Aid advocate and lecturer in law and has been a partner in Nyirenda & Msisha Law Offices since 1990.

He came to prominence during Malawi’s political transition from dictatorship to a multiparty system of government in the early 90s. He was part of the executive committee of Alliance for Democracy (Aford) when it was a pressure group, was publicity secretary for the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in the run-up to the referendum, and later participated in drafting the new constitution in the National Consultative Council (NCC). He also actively defended activists who were caught on the wrong side of the law during the transition and championed advocacy for legal reform.