Malawi named as country of the year

The Economist newspaper has named Malawi as the country of the year 2020 following the nullification of the 2019 presidential elections and the holding of Fresh Presidential elections.

The London based magazine has hailed Malawi for reviving democracy in an authoritarian region.

According to Freedom House, democracy and respect for human rights regressed in 80 countries between the start of the pandemic and September this year but the only country where they improved was Malawi.

“To appreciate its progress, consider what came before. In 2012 a president died, his death was covered up and his corpse flown to South Africa for “medical treatment”, to buy time so that his brother could take over. That brother, Peter Mutharika, failed to grab power then but was elected two years later and ran for re-election. 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. A fair re-run in June booted out Mr Mutharika and installed the people’s choice, Lazarus Chakwera. Malawi is still poor, but its people are citizens, not subjects. For reviving democracy in an authoritarian region, it is our country of the year,” the Economist magazine wrote.

Malawi held Presidential Elections last year in which the then President Peter Mutharika was declared winner.

But candidates Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima challenged the results in court saying there was widespread use of Tipp-ex on tally sheets.

Malawians also stormed the streets for many days over a period of about nine months to protest against the results.

The High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court nullified the polls over widespread and systematic irregularities. The Court ordered fresh elections.

Mutharika appealed but the Supreme Court of Appeal agreed with the lower court.

For the fresh elections, Chakwera and Chilima stood on the same ticket as candidate and running mate respectively and they went on to defeat Mutharika with 58 percent of the votes cast.