5 judges of Malawi’s Excessive Courtroom who in February nullified the nation’s presidential elections are winners of this 12 months’s prestigious Chatham Home award.
The London-based suppose tank mentioned on Tuesday that the constitutional courtroom judges have received the 2020 Chatham Home Prize in recognition of the “braveness and independence within the defence of democracy” demonstrated of their historic February 2020 ruling that annulled the Could 2019 ballot.
Malawi turned the second nation in Africa — after Kenya — and solely the third on the earth to nullify a presidential election. In contrast to in Kenya, the place incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta received the rerun anyway after an opposition boycott, Malawi’s opposition, led by Lazarus Chakwera, swept to energy on second asking — defeating President Peter Mutharika, who had been declared winner and sworn in for a second time period after the primary disputed elections.
“At a time when requirements of democratic governance are beneath menace not solely in Africa, however in lots of democracies, Malawi’s constitutional courtroom judges set an instance for his or her friends the world over by upholding the centrality of the rule of legislation and separation of powers,” Chatham Home mentioned.
“Regardless of high-level bribery makes an attempt and threats, Justice Healey Potani, Justice Ivy Kamanga, Justice Redson Kapindu, Justice Dingiswayo Madise and Justice Michael Tembo — who arrived in courtroom beneath armed escort and sporting bulletproof vests — delivered their 500-page ruling, which upheld the structure and defended residents’ democratic rights in essentially the most tough circumstances.”
The preliminary re-election of Mutharika had triggered widespread avenue protests. But the nation’s democratic safeguards stood agency. Other than the judiciary, the nation’s navy and civil society have been praised for safeguarding the nation’s democracy.
“It is a historic second for democratic governance. The ruling by Malawi’s constitutional courtroom judges is just not solely essential for rebuilding the arrogance of Malawi’s residents of their establishments, but in addition for upholding requirements of democracy extra broadly throughout the African continent. There may very well be no extra particular method to mark Chatham Home’s centenary than by recognising the dedication of those courageous people to the reason for accountable governance and the justice that this affords to all,” mentioned Dr Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham Home.
Malawi’s constitutional courtroom judges will probably be offered with the prize later this 12 months, with a proper ceremony as a result of happen in 2021. Final 12 months’s prize was awarded to Sir David Attenborough and BBC Studios’ Pure Historical past Unit for the “sustained influence of the TV sequence Blue Planet II in galvanising public engagement on the issue of plastic air pollution on the earth’s oceans”.