Chief justice Andrew Nyirenda has said the Chatham House prize to the five constitutional court judges that presided over the 2019 elections case is a call to the judiciary to continue with its transformative role in the promotion and protection of the rule of law.
Speaking during the award presentation, Nyirenda, said judicial independence is important as it benefits the public and court users.
“The prize is historic in the sense that it vindicates that Malawi is moving forward in as far as democracy is concerned. It vindicates that Malawi is moving on in as far as the rule of law is concerned,” said Nyirenda
Judge President Healey Potani said it was the elections case was a lifetime experience.
“It was quite an experience in the sense that the case had a lot of stakes and it had so many emotions. It was not an ordinary case,” Potani said.
Managing Director of Chatham House, Alex Vines, said he feels proud to preside over the presentation of the prize to the Judges.
“The judges were shortlisted for the 2020 Chatham House Prize in London for their bravery in safeguarding the constitutional process,” said Vines
The Chatham House is centre for research and analysis of international affairs.
Five judges heard a case on the outcome of May 21 2019 presidential elections.
They are Potani and justices Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu, Dingswayo Madise and Mike Tembo.
The 2019 Malawi presidential election results were challenged in the High Court by the opposition leaders.
The election was dubbed the ‘Tipp-Ex election’ on social media, referring to a brand of correction fluid, after ballot tally papers were painted with the white liquid and written over, supposedly altering results.
Peter Mutharika, president since 2014 received 38.7 percent of the vote, while the then nearest opposition contender, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera, took 34.1 percent of the vote.
Mutharika’s vice Saulos Chilima, who broke away from the ruling party, forming the UTM party, received 20.2 percent of the vote, securing third place.