Malawi’s High Court Judge Redson Kapindu and a Namibian Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab are recipients of the 2022 Vera Chirwa Award presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in South Africa.
Kapindu jointly received the award with Dausab in recognition of his work in advancing human rights, especially socio-economic rights and political rights, in Malawi and across the African continent.
Kapindu (R) and the Namibian minister carry their awards
The centre wrote on its website last month that Kapindu has been involved in many decisions in Malawi with a significant impact on the consolidation of democracy and advancement of human rights in Malawi, citing the case of Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera versus Peter Mutharika (Constitutional Reference 1 of 2019); in which the High Court on 3 February 3 2020 declared the 2019-2020 presidential elections invalid.
It further Kapindu’s involvement played a very significant part in strengthening Malawi’s constitutional democracy at a time of potential great peril.
Kapindu was among a five-member High Court’s Constitutional Court panel alongside Ivy Kamanga, Healey Potani, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise that nullified the 2019 presidential election that declared Mutharika winner.
Besides being a Judge Kapindu, is also a visiting professor of law at the University of Johannesburg and a part-time associate professor of law at the University of Malawi.
Chakwera, President of Malawi now and Chilima, Vice-President, went on to win a court-sanctioned presidential poll in June 2020, dislodging Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party whose running mate was Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front.
The Vera Chirwa Award was named after Malawi’s first female lawyer and human rights activist, Vera Chirwa, best known for her fight against authoritarianism and commitment towards human rights in Malawi.
“Under the regime of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Vera Chirwa was tried and sentenced to death. Her husband, Orton Chirwa, and herself, were both tortured, received inadequate food and were denied proper medical attention, which later led to the death of Orton,” the centre wrote on its website.