Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has told newly appointed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners to be professional and avoid partisan conduct to meet the expectations of Malawians in handling elections.
Nyirenda said this on Friday after he swore in seven of the eight commissioners in Lilongwe.
“Failure to live to the expectations of Malawians will make this swearing in just symbolic,” he said.
His comments come amid concerns that President Peter Mutharika has staffed with more ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its political bed fellows, the United Democratic Front (UDF) officials more than the opposition as a strategy to rig the 2019 elections.
Mutharika appointed four commissioners from the DPP, two from the UDF and one each from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Peoples Party (PP).
“You should be public officers of high integrity because integrity is the pillar of democracy,” he said.
Commissioners Linda Kunje and Moffat Banda assured Malawians that they will do their job for the better of Malawi.
However, in an interview, PP spokesman Ken Msonda said Mutharika will be responsible for any violence that will break out in 2019 as a result of people’s lack of trust in MEC handling of the election.
“He has put in more DPP commissioners because he wants to rig the election,” he said.
Msonda said the only way out was for the President to withdraw the names and appoint new names with each party having equal numbers for the sake of polls credibility.
“If he does not do this there will be chaos in Malawi, there will be violence as some people will not accept the results, he will be dragged to the International Criminal Court,” said Msonda.
Mutharika appointed Jean Mathanga, Moffat Banda, Ivy Mtafu, Killion Mgawi, Clifford Buloyi, Mary Nkosi, Linda Kunje and Yahaya Mmadi as commissioners for MEC.