Newly-appointed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners have been told to read and understand electoral laws and maintain personal integrity if the country is to enjoy the fruits of democracy.
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda was speaking yesterday in Lilongwe during the swearing-in ceremony of eight new commissioners. He said the commissioners’ understanding of the law and personal integrity would make or unmake this country.
Recently President Peter Mutharika appointed Jean Mathanga, Moffat Banda, Ivy Mtafu, Rev Killion Mgawi, Rev Clifford Baloyi, Mary Nkosi, Linda Kunje and Yahaya Mmadi for a four-year term as commissioners of MEC.
Nyirenda told the commissioners that Malawi chose democracy and that the integrity of the commissioners was vital to see democracy working in Malawi.
“We chose a path of democracy and rule of law. Elections can make or unmake a democracy. You have said today that you will be trusted and you can be trusted with the political process.
“That is a proclamation that you can be trusted with the ultimate welfare of this nation. Your commitment is to see that the electoral process is fair,” he said.
Justice Nyirenda said taking the oath of office was an extraordinary and a solemn occasion for the commissioners as they give assurance to the nation to embark on a journey to give service as commissioner of Malawi Electoral Commission.
“This oath of office is the ultimate indication of importance of person values. I am sharing with you common values that would make and unmake mankind. This oath of office symbolises mutual trust between you and citizens.
United Nations Development Programme Country Representative Mia Seppo, who witnessed the occasion, said it was good that the commissioners have been sworn in three years before the next election.
“This gives the new commissioners three years to learn law, three years to establish good track record before we get into actual election period,” she said.