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New commissioners sworn in

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New Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) chairperson, Chifundo Kachale and a team of six commissioners were Tuesday sworn in at the High Court in Blantyre at an event presided over by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

The commissioners are Arthur Nanthuru, Steve Duwa, Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje, Anthony Mukumbwa and Olivia Liwewe. Mathanga and Kunje have been retained into the just sworn-in crop of commissioners from the immediate-past Mec.

In his message, Nyirenda advised the new team to uphold the country’s Constitution when conducting their duties and not to serve interests of specific people.

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“This oath must, therefore, establish a moral commitment that links your personal virtue with public values and duties. The biggest threat to democracy and public interest is a public officer without personal credibility and integrity,” Nyirenda said.

Specifically tackling the forthcoming court-ordered presidential poll, Nyirenda warned that elections can make or unmake democracy; hence the commissioners should safeguard the political will and choice of people.

“That power [of managing elections] can be used or abused. You must always be reminded and remind yourselves over and over that your loyalty is to the Constitution, the state and public interest, never to a specific individuals,” he added.

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Speaking to journalists after being sworn in, Kachale said the new commission would meet today to be briefed on the electoral body’s preparedness for the fresh poll.

He further indicated that as a public servant, who has served for over two decades as judge of the courts he is fully aware of the responsibilities that come with the oath that he had taken and that Mec will make sure the country holds regular, credible, fair and open elections.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that that process gets done in the manner that our courts have determined must be done according to the prescriptions of law and to ensure that every stakeholder in that process can accept the outcome of that process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parliament has resolved that the court-ordered presidential election should be held on June 23, the day that was suggested by the immediate past Mec.

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