Throughout the elections case heard at the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, lawyers argued on the law, judges guided the proceedings but, without a doubt, court interpreters funneled every word uttered in the proceedings to the masses.
In recognition of this role, the five High Court interpreters have been awarded for their role, described as exceptional, in the course of the prominent 2019 elections case.
The five court interpreters are Chifundo Matchaya, Anthony Nkhwazi, Overt Chitatu, Jollan Mukhondiya and Felix Mathanda.
The Office of Ombudsman in collaboration with Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (CSAT) awarded the five interpreters with certificates of recognition through the Ombudsman Excellence Awards on Friday, just a few hours after the case adjourned for ruling in the next 45 days.
CSAT Executive Director Willy Kambwandira said the main objective of the award is to promote quality service delivery, enhance accountability, encourage and recognition public officers and institutions who have performed their work beyond the call their duty.
“The five gentlemen worked really hard to make it possible for millions to follow the elections case with ease. They deserve to be honored for their dedication,” said Kambwandira.
He added that the initiative seeks to give a different picture that accountability is not only about exposing vulnerabilities of public institutions or policing public officers, but encourage best practices.
In her remarks, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma reiterated the exceptional work done by the five interpreters in ensuring millions followed the court case without difficulties.
“Court interpretation is not about words. It is about the story. The story of the 2019 elections case was an unusual but very important story.
“I have been a judicial officer. I appreciate how tough it is to interpret court stories. The five gentlemen in dark suits walked into this unusual story that had even unusual terms and to the best of their ability interpreted this story into the basic Chichewa thereby making it possible for millions of people to hear this story,” said Ombudsman Chizuma.
Chizuma said through their work, they have upheld many rights including the right to information.
“We are proud of their service to their nation. They deserved the Ombudsman Excellence awards,” she added.
The Ombudsman Award is an initiative by the Office of Ombudsman, and Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (CSAT); governance and accountability watchdog.
During the event, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency also presented a certificate of recognition to the Office of Ombudsman for the outstanding performance in public protection in 2019.
Other government officials to earn recognition for exceptional public service in the year ending are Elias Ackim District Education Manager (DEM) for Machinga, Martha Mtenje of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lawrence Malangizo from the Department of Disaster Management.