Presiding Over Elections is a Make or Break Responsibility-Chief Justice Nyirenda
Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has challenged newly appointed commissioners for the Malawi Electoral commission that presiding over elections is no simple task but great responsibility which can make or break a country's democracy.
The Chief Justice said in Lilongwe when he presided over the swearing-in of three of the four newly appointed commissioners that elections are regulated by a detailed legal framework which they must use as a road map in managing the process.
“It is that legal framework and your responsibility to our people that will make the management or the conduct of our elections ultimately free, fair, and credible,” Nyirenda said.
He nonetheless advised that for credible elections to be achieved, it demands a firm, strong-minded and resilient electoral commission that prioritizes the will of the people when executing duties than political parties that nominate them to be their torchbearers in managing elections.
“let me plead with you that in your responsibility as electoral commissioners you respond to the people of Malawi and only to the people of Malawi shall you execute your ability, your professionalism, your capacity and commitment to the cause you have taken an oath to,” said the chief justice.
He underscored that elections are an expression of people's inner voice on the kind of leaders they want once and for all through a ballot, not the courts.
The chief justice expressed hope that the nearest past protracted court trials on electoral disputes will not be repeated in the future as such is costly, creates confusion, and discourages the electorates to exercise their right to vote.
He advised that presiding over elections is a make-or-break responsibility which must be taken seriously inspired by the oath taken after accepting the appointment.
One of the newly sworn-in commissioners Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano said they will strive to execute their duties as commissioners of the electoral body using the legal instruments framed to guide them in managing elections.
“We are supposed to abide by the constitution as has been said and then we also have got the law that guides the Malawi Electoral Commission itself which we have to observe and follow and therefore there is enough guidance that we need to use as we conduct our business” he observed
President Lazarus Chakwera appointed the new commissioners namely Francis Kasaila, Dr. Fabiano, Ms. Carolyn Nfune all from DPP, and Richard Chapweteka from Malawi Congress Party after a high court ruling.
All the commissioners except Kasaila who is out of the country on official duties have taken their oath of office.
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