Since the attainment of democracy in Malawi some government departments such as the Judiciary, Anti-Corruption Bureau are expected to be independent in their operations. However, this has not been the case with some of the governments in power. The independence has fallen short because of the fear created by the appointing authority who openly say they have the powers to hire and fire. The appointing authority is the President who can appoint or remove judges from their positions. With this in mind, the judges might be thinking that they have to work to please the President and not people they are expected to serve. This practice could not go on forever because no condition is permanent.
It all started when Malawians started calling for change in government during the election campaign in 2019 and later in 2020. It is only natural that even the Judiciary staff especially the judges to think that the change in government might benefit them as well, as they worked with their hands tied. Since they were involved with election cases they might have thought it was the time to show and prove that they are capable of being independent.
As it were after the 2019 elections, Peter Mutharika was declared as the winner and was quickly sworn in probably to regain the powers and avoid any queries about his presidency. In the past this would have been a done deal and sealed. However, the story was different this time round. After realising that the election was full of irregularities Vice-President Saulos Chilima and President Lazarus Chakwera took the matter to Constitutional Court where the Judiciary picked five high court judges namely Judge Madise, Judge Kamanga, Judge Potani, Judge Tembo and Judge Kapindu to take the case. This was their chance to show that they can handle such a sensitive case. An everyone knows they tried the case and nullified the 2019 presidential elections. This judgement was unique in this region and Africa at large. People in other countries admired and commended the judges and even in Malawi people will live to talk about the judgement and the judges for a long time. This being a corrupt country the judges did not succumb to it, but followed the laws of justice. It was due to the courageous performance of the judges that gave confidence to all Malawians that change is possible and they voted just for that. Hence there is a new government run by President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima under the Tonse Alliance. Meanwhile, it is with great pleasure and sense of pride to all Malawians when the news came that the five Concourt judges have won global awards of the 2020 Chatham House award. The five judges proved that there can be justice in a country full of injustice.
The award is indeed for a good cause as compared to the awards sometimes given to some leaders which are usually meaningless. Surprisingly, they would bragg about such awards while people are wallowing in poverty. In fact, the leadership of President Chakwera and Veep Chilima is about servant leadership. They are both emphasizing that they are there to serve the people and not themselves. In fact, when Vice President Chilima visits organisations, he calls a spade a spade especially to those managers who are not performing well. He, therefore, cannot call failures as star performers. This does not help anybody.
It now goes without saying that Malawians should emulate the success story of the five judges in order to serve the people by delivering justice. This should be easier and possible at the moment with the new Chakwera administration.