Chairperson for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Justice Maxon Mbendera is leading commissioners and staff under the Electoral Commissions Forums of SADC countries (ECF SADC) to observe the presidential by-elections in Zambia.
Zambia will hold presidential elections on January 20, following the death-in-office of President Michael Chilufya Sata October 28 last year.
The ECF SADC is among other international organisations that have deployed teams to observe the Zambia presidential by-elections.
“Justice Mbendera will be with the team from 14 to 23 January 2015. The Malawi Electoral Commission will also be represented by Commissioners Dr Wellington Nakanga, Stanley Billiat, Rev Allan Chiphiko and Deputy Chief Elections Officer (operations), Harris Potani,” reads a statement from MEC.
Commenting on his role, Justice Mbendera SC said it symbolized the growing trust that electoral bodies in the SADC have in the Malawi Electoral Commission in the management of elections.
“It is a proud moment to lead the other electoral bodies to observe the Zambia elections. We have a lot of things in common and this will be an opportunity for peer review. I am optimistic that there are a number of things to share with them and also to learn from them.
“We are in the process of effecting electoral reforms and there will be a number of things to learn from them that can be adapted here to improve our elections management and performance,” Justice Mbendera said.
ECF-SADC is an independent organization whose members are electoral commissions from 14 SADC countries namely Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.
The Forum has been in place since July 1998 and it has played an important role in strengthening co-operation amongst Electoral Commissions in the SADC region and promoting conditions conducive tofree, fair, credible and transparent elections. Currently, Justice Mbendera is the vice-chairperson of the executive council of ECF SADC.