I am pleased to have learned that the State President appointed Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa as judge of the High Court of Malawi. There are not enough judges at the High Court in this country, thus making access to justice a challenge. The death of recently appointed Judge George Bakuwa did not help matters as one judge lost is way too many in as far as access to justice is concerned. The appointment of Usiwausiwa was, therefore, an appropriate response to the shortage of men in wigs to the bench.
Ladies and gentlemen, you may have celebrated with Usiwausiwa for different reasons. I assume his colleagues who went to school with him at Ndirande Primary School may also have cherished his recent appointment. I assume others who studied with him at Chichiri Secondary School may also have re-assured themselves that Usiwausiwa was made out for great things. What about his classmates at Chancellor College (Chanco) for the Bachelor of Education class? Then there are those people who taught at secondary school with Usiwausiwa? Then there are those who studied law with him after he hang the chalk. Usiwausiwa is an inspiration to me, as he is, to many others.
I grew up in Ndirande (and Chilinde earlier on). When I was in Standard Eight (the first time and the second time), I admired this Chichiri Secondary School boy who passed by our house every morning and every late afternoon as he went to, and came back from, school. This was Nyakwawa. Because I had repeated Standard Eight, I was selected to HHI Secondary School. Nyakwawa went to Chanco and I followed him there. I knew him, but never spoke to him and I doubt he even knows who I am. His parents’ house was eleven houses away from my parents’ house, and in Ndirande, this is a very short distance indeed. Congratulations My Lord.
When I was at HHI, a young boy from Ndirande-Chimseu came to join us. I was in Form Two and the boy came to start Form One. This was young Dingiswayo Madise. I am proud that Dingi (as we used to call him) is also a judge of the High Court of Malawi. Whatever the case ladies and gentlemen, Ndirande has now two judges (in fact, the number could be more if we start asking who is who at at the High Court).
Last time there was a head count at the courts, the numbers were very few. This is not because that is the number that is needed, but rather, you just don’t pick any person to be a judge. You pick the best. And the best among the best in the profession include Nyakwawa and Dingi, both my compatriots from Ndirande.
It is very easy to be despondent (I borrowed the word ‘despondent’ from Goodall Gondwe) about Ndirande. There are, of course, myths about Ndirande. Claims like everyday people are just stabbing and killing one another; people are stealing and robbing the rich in Nyambadwe. Life can be very hard in Ndirande. But we can also create hope among the citizens there.