A British Magazine The Economist has named Malawi as “Country of the Year” for reviving democracy in an authoritarian region” citing the nullification of the 2019 Presidential elections that were marred by irregularities.
The Economist argues that Malawi handled very well democracy and the rule of law highlighted by the nullification of the presidential election and peaceful shift of power. The British Publication also hailed Malawians as people who stood for democracy in the year 2020.
“The vote-count was rigged with correction fluid on the tally sheets. Foreign observers cynically approved it anyway. Malawians launched mass protests against the ‘Tipp-Ex election’. Malawian judges turned down suitcases of bribes and annulled it,” The Economist said in a statement.
Early in June, Malawi held a Presidential election re-run and President Peter Mutharika was defeated by Lazarus Chakwera who was blocked by a Tonse Alliance of nine opposition parties.
The Economist says Freedom House’s report that democracy and respect of Human rights regressed in 80 countries between the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and September but only improved in Malawi.
“Malawi is still poor but its people are citizens not subjects,” the Publication adds.
According to the Publication, Malawi beat countries in the league of New Zealand, Taiwan, United States of America and Bolivia.
Recently the London-based think-tank Chatham House also named Malawi’s Constitutional Court judges as winners of a prestigious International award for Overturning presidential elections for rigging.
The Chatham House Prize is annually awarded for “the most significant contribution to the improvement of International relations.”
The ELection of Chakwera- with significant support from his runningmate and state vice-President Saulos Chilima- was also the second time in Africa that an election re-run has led to defeat of an incumbent.
Malawi’s Constitutional Court’s verdict was only the second time in history that an African high court had canceled the result of a presidential election. Kenya’s Supreme Court was the first to do so in September 2017.
This does not mean that complaints are uncommon; opposition parties across the continent frequently cry foul and lodge legal challenges to election results. In most cases, however, their complaints are dismissed or rejected by the courts.
Every year The Economist based in London nominates the states that succeeded in making the greatest progress in the affairs of Democracy for the title of country of the Year.