By Duncan Mlanjira
London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, whose patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, has included three judges of the Constitutional Court of Malawi on the shortlist of nominees for the 2020 Chatham House Prize.
A letter from Chatham House’s Director, Dr Robin Niblett CMG, the three are High Court of Malawi Judge President, Justice Healy Potani and Justices Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu, Dingiswayo Madise and Michael Tembo.
They have been considered for “the bravery in protecting the constitutional process” during the presidential elections case that annulled the 2019 polls and called for fresh elections.
“The bravery shown by you and your fellow in protecting the constitutional process has made a strong impression on our research programmes and our three presidents,” says the letter from Niblett addressed to Justice Potani.
“Since its establishment in 1920, Chatham House has been a world-leading centre for research and analysis of international affairs.
“In 2005, Chatham House inaugurated a new international award, the Chatham House Prize, to be presented each year to the institution or statesperson who is judged by our members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.”
Niblett further explains that the selection process is rigorous and takes place in three stages and draw on the input of their senior research teams.
“Their recommendations are presented to our co-presidents (Sir John Major, Lord Alistair Darling and Baroness Manningham-Buller) who produce the shortlist of nominees, which is then voted on by the full Chatham House membership.
“The first Chatham House prize was won by HE Victor Yuschenko, President of the Ukraine.
“Since then winners have included HE Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil; HE Joaquim Chissano, President of Mozambique; and HE John Kufuor, President of Ghana.
“Once again, our congratulations on this nomination which recognizes the very significant contribution that we believe you have made to improve the state of international relations this past year.
Chatham House, that is celebrating 100 years of independent thinking, says on its website that it owes no allegiance to any government or any political body and it does not take institutional positions on policy issues.
“As a world-leading policy institute, our mission is to help governments and societies build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world,” says Chatham House on its website.
“We deliver our mission through:
*Dialogue: Engaging governments, the private sector, civil society and our members in open debates and private discussions on the major issues in world politics.
*Research: Rigorous analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities.
*Leadership: Training the next generation of policy influencers to deepen their knowledge of the critical political issues and to develop their analytical and problem-solving skills.”
The Constitutional Court annulled results of the 2019 presidential elections following serious irregularities that were presented by the petitioners — Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera and UTM Party President Saulos Chilima.
After the Democratic Progressive Party President Peter Mutharika appealed the verdict, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling and the fresh election took place on June 23 that saw Chakwera, in the Tonse Alliance with Chilima and other parties, winning th election.