A proper autopsy will be conducted to ascertain the cause of death of the chairperson for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) who was also judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Maxon Mbendera, a family member has said.
Mbendera is said to have died of cardiac arrests.
According to MEC acting chief elections officer Harris Potani, Mbendera was in Lilongwe where he had a meeting at the Auditor General’s office up until around 11am on Thuraday when he collapsed and was later rushed to the City Centre Clinic where he was briefly admitted before he died.
“The Chairman 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,” Potani said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times.
But a close relation said only an autopsy will determine the actual cause of Mbendera’s sudden death.
“We don’t want to speculate,” said a relation who declined to be mention.
“It is difficult moment for us. There was no sign of ill health and Justice Maxon Mbendera has not complained of any recently.”
But Potani said in announcing “with deep regret” the death of Mbendera that “ a dark cloud has befallen the Commission.”
Justice Mbendera SC was appointed Judge of Supreme Court in 2012 by former president Joyce Banda and then she appointed him as Chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission on 10 October, 2012. His four year term was due to end on 9 October, 2016.
During his stay as Chair of MEC he presided over the first- ever Tripartite Elections and two sets of by-elections thereafter.
Mbendera wept during the announcement of the winner of the 2014 elections which took almost a week to be released.
“I am crying because as I am announcing these results someone in Mangochi has lost a life because of these elections while someone is about to rejoice for winning the elections,” he said before he announced election results.
“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,” Potani said.
He was born on November 4 1958 in Malawi’s Central Region district of Ntcheu.
Mbendera held an LLB (Hons) Degree from the University of Malawi and an LLM in International Trade and Investment Law.
He had over 35 years experience as a Lawyer (7 years of which were at the level of Judge).
Mbendera 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 he was appointed Judge of the High Court in 2009.
During his time at the bar, he 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. He served as Malawi’s Attorney General between 2011 and April 2012. He was appointed Supreme Court Justice of Appeal in December, 2012.
Between 2009 and 2012, he served as a founding member of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC). He was relieved of that office upon appointment to become Lord Chair of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
As Lord Chair of MEC, he has led many Electoral Observation Missions on behalf of the Commonwealth, the African Union (AU), and the ECF-SADC.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :