Malawi is named “Country of the Year” by the British magazine The Economist or “reviving democracy in an authoritarian region”, citing the nullification of the 2019 presidential election results that were marred by irregularities.
Every year, the London-based influential publication which circulates in over 80 countries globally nominates the states that succeeded in making the greatest progress in the affairs of democracy for the title of Country of the Year.
The Economist notes 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 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 its statement.
Malawi held a presidential election re-run in June and president Peter Mutharika was defeated by Lazarus Chakwera who was backed by a Tonse Alliance of nine opposition parties.
The Economist says Freedom House’s report that democracy and respect for human rights regressed in 80 countries between the start of the pandemic and September but only improved in Malawi.
“Malawi is still poor, but its people are citizens, not subjects,” the publication adds.
The publication says Malawi beat countries such as 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.”
A University of Malawi law professor, Sunduzwayo Madise said the prize was “a recognition that despite challenges, the country’s democracy is maturing.”
The election of Chakwera – with significant support from his runningmate and state vice-president Saulos Chilima – was also the first time in Africa that an election re-run has led to the defeat of an incumbent.