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ConCourt judges earn praise over global prize

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Government has praised the five judges who presided over the presidential election petition case as a constitutional referral for winning the 2020 Chatham House Prize.

Members of Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute whose mission is to provide authoritative commentary on world events and offer solutions to global challenges, recognised the judges for upholding the independence of the Malawi Judiciary in the February 3 judgement which nullified the 2019 presidential election results.

Commenting on the recognition, government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said it is an indication that the Judiciary is independent, ethical and true to its ideals.

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“The Executive is pleased that we have a Judiciary that can do its work independently and has earned global recognition. Such a reputation is no mean feat,” Kazako said.

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has also hailed the five judges’ recognition, saying “it is good for us as a country”.

“It must drive our nation as far as the rule of law is concerned. As such, I would like to add that let us follow the good example set by the judges and stick to the law as a country. It is sure and objective standard for measuring our progress as a nation.

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“This international recognition is good for the country in many ways—if a nation can have settled laws which are predictable and sure to be followed, it would mean business, political and economic life can easily be planned around the existing laws knowing that the courts will stay with the law,” MLS president Burton Mhango said Monday.

He further appealed to all state actors to emulate the example set by the five judges and their seven seniors at the Supreme Court of Appeal who upheld the lower court’s election petition case judgement.

“That is the essence of section 12 of the Constitution which addresses all holders of legal and political authority to exercise powers of the state to do so in accordance with the law,” Mhango said.

The Chatham House Prize was initiated in 2005 and is awarded on behalf of the Queen of the United Kingdom who is the institute’s patron.

Meanwhile, the institute has announced that it will arrange a presentation of the prize to the judges in person in the near future “perhaps in Lilongwe” as well as the UK next year at its London Conference which it is planning to hold in June.

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