Britain say Malawi judges Chatham award ‘richly deserved’: Kazako says ‘point of reference at global level’

Minister for Africa for the United Kingdom (UK) James Duddridge has said judges of the High Court of Malawi, who presided over the landmark May 21 2019 presidential election nullification petition,  were right winners of a prestigious international award for overturning presidential elections for rigging.

Well protected: Judges who overturned the ‘Tipp-Ex election’ in Malaw
 Beer: Richly deserved award for Malawi judges

The five-judge panel of the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) have won the 2020 Chatham House Prize for protecting the country’s Constitution.

Duddridge, who is Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East,  pointed out in a tweet that the prize by  London-based think-tank Chatham House recognises significant contributions to international relations.

“Delighted Malawi’s Constitutional Court Judges have won for their courage in the defence of democracy following the 2019 Presidential election,” tweeted the Minister of Africa for UK.

Britain High Commissioner to Malawi, David Beer also took to Twitter to state that the award for the five constitutional court judges is “richly deserved.”

Beer tweeted: “The actions of democratic institutions over the last year have cemented its international reputation and provided a strong example for other countries.”

The judges  — Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo — were recognised for bravery and independence after they cancelled the re-election of then incumbent Peter Mutharika in a historic decision for elections in Africa in February over “widespread, systematic, and grave irregularities”  as prayed by first petitioner Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party.

They ordered new elections, which were held on June 23 and won by opposition Tonse Alliance pair of Chakwera and Chilima.

The Chatham House Prize is annually awarded for “the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations.”

“At a time when standards of democratic governance are under threat not only in Africa, but in many democracies, Malawi’s constitutional court judges set an example for their peers across the world by upholding the centrality of the rule of law and separation of powers,” said a statement from  Chatham House ,  a world centre for research and analysis of international affairs established in 1920.

The five judges faced numerous threats and bribery attempts during the process, and arrived in court under armed guard while wearing bulletproof vests to deliver a ruling that overturned the election results and defended citizens’ democratic rights.

Chatham House director Robin Niblett said “the Malawi ruling is unprecedented in a country where past elections have been marred by irregularities, electoral fraud and violence.”

“The judges successfully asserted their independence in the face of significant pressures and the power of incumbency,” he said.

Minister of  Information Gospel Kazako, who is official government spokesperson, described the global recognition  as a “point of reference” in electoral justice.

 

Said Kazako: “Justice is like a lion when you release it out, it defends itself. When it roars everyone hears the  roar. The world has heard the roaring of justice from the Malawi Judges. It is the sort of justice that doesn’t need any defence. It is defending itself. It’s there for all to see.”

 

Kazako said those who were still in doubt that the 2019 elections were fraudulent and unjust, “have now a point of reference at global level”

 

He said: ” Government is proud of these judges and expect them to continue being independent.”

University of Malawi  dean of law at Chancellor College in the eastern city of Zomba, Sunduzwayo Madise said the prize was “a recognition that despite challenges, the country’s democracy is maturing”.

Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Burton Mhango said the society was “very proud of our five brave judges and our Judiciary” and the recognition must propel the country as far as the rule of law is concerned.

Reacting to the global recognition, Potani , who chaired the panel of the judge and has been elevated to  Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal bench, said the five “feel very humbled and honoured.

Potani said the judges  dedicate the award to “the entire Malawi Judiciary and indeed the Malawi nation.”

Malawi is just the second in sub-Saharan Africa to have had presidential election results overturned in court, after Kenya in 2017. The election of Chakwera was also the first time in Africa that an election re-run has led to the defeat of an incumbent.

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Andrew Longwe
Andrew Longwe
7 months ago

Malawi judges are most corrupt in world

Mphatso M
Mphatso M
7 months ago

Yes, l did say it before, and you may forgive me for repeating myself this time around. Congratulations to our “Big 5, the Pride of Malawi, and Africa at large”. The five judges truly deserves every applause and recognition. They have set the standards and raised the bar so high, that a lot more of the African judiciaries will have a tough and rough ride to emulate. Our brave High Court judges stood for the truth and justice, and risked everything for nothing but the truth, when the environment they were in was infected by corruption and decadence. Our judges… Read more »

Nyakwawa che nyaxxy
Nyakwawa che nyaxxy
7 months ago

Corrupt judges

Ngombwax
Ngombwax
7 months ago

Lest we forget: there is an idiot sitting phwii in Mangochi— a constitutional lawyer no less — who believes our judicial system has brought shame to the reputation of Malawi. What should we now do with this old man? Crucify him?

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago
Reply to  Ngombwax

Crucify him yes, kikikikiiiiiiii.

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago

Tell that to chinkhalamba ku Mangochi.

TSankara
TSankara
7 months ago

Osanama ntchito munagwira makamaka pa 50%+1 munaitha🙌 owina aziwinila pachiwone atathamanga dziko lonseli, munatiyimila

mwinifilimu
mwinifilimu
7 months ago
Reply to  TSankara

True my brother, and no one at the helm of power will take us voters for granted as it has been the trend the last 25 years, i would call our wasted years

Ku lumbadzi
Ku lumbadzi
7 months ago
Reply to  mwinifilimu

25 year heist.

Ngombwax
Ngombwax
7 months ago

This is a big fuckin’ deal! Congrats to our judges. I feel really proud of being a Malawian! Gimme champagne and wine ….

Whiplash
Whiplash
7 months ago
Reply to  Ngombwax

It definitely is a proud moment for malawi!

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