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Judge Maxon Mbendera’s burial Saturday

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The body of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Maxon Mbendera, who died Thursday, will be laid to rest on Saturday at HHI Cemetery in Blantyre.

Hastings Thembakako, Mbendera’s cousin, said yesterday evening that the body will be taken from Lilongwe, today, to Mbendera’s home at Sunnyside in Blantyre.

Mbendera was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Lilongwe Private Clinic after he had collapsed during a meeting with the Auditor General, Stephenson Kamphasa, in Lilongwe.

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“Mbendera was in good health earlier in the day but felt unwell around 11am and was taken to Lilongwe Private Clinic. He died shortly after admission.

“The Commission will miss his leadership. Our prayer-filled thoughts of peace and comfort go out to his family and all those deeply grieved by his passing. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” reads a statement by Mec.

Mbendera, who until his death was a Supreme Court of Appeal Judge, became Mec Chairperson in October 2012 and his tenure at the electoral body was supposed to expire in October this year.

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The first chairperson to preside over the country’s tripartite elections, Mbendera is well remembered for breaking down with emotion on May 30, 2014 before announcing poll results.

National Audit Office (Nao) Spokesperson, Rabson Kagwamminga, confirmed that Mbendera visited the AG earlier in the day.

“I don’t have information on his death apart from my knowledge that he indeed visited our offices and had a chat with our boss in his office and left,” Kagwamminga said.

Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said the Judiciary will miss Mbendera for his dedication to duties.

“He was a hardworking Judge whose commitment to work was excellent. Justice Mbendera was always there whenever his services were needed in the justice system. We are shocked by his death and we will really miss him,” Mvula said.

Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) Chairperson, Steve Duwa, said he was short of words.

“I am deeply shocked. As Mesn family, we will miss Justice Mbendera for his transparency and accountability. We thought with his chairmanship, the electoral reform process would be professionally done until the end of his term this coming October or beyond but our plans are not God’s plans. May his soul rest in peace,” Duwa said.

Prior to his appointment as a judge, Mbendera had an illustrious career as a private practice lawyer.

He held an LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Malawi and an LLM in International Trade and Investment Law.

Mbendera had over 35 years experience as a lawyer, seven years of which were at the level of Judge.

He was admitted to the Malawi Bar in 1981 and worked for Savjan & Co for 13 years and then set up his own legal firm, Mbendera & Associates, that later became Mbendera & Nkhono Associates, which he led for 15 years until 2009.

Mbendera also once served as Secretary of the Malawi Law Society between 1993 and 1995 and its President between 1999 and 2001.

He was decorated and conferred the status of Senior Counsel in 2008.

Mbendera also served as Malawi’s Attorney General between 2011 and April 2012.

Between 2009 and 2012, he served as a founding member of the Sadc Electoral Advisory Council (Seac).

Born on November 4, 1958, Mbendera who was also an Impi [a protector] to Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V, hailed from Kapala Village in the area of Traditional Authority Chakhumbira in Ntcheu.

He is survived by a wife and four children.

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