Malawi: Competent Kachale - New Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Earns Mutharika Praise

Malawi President Peter Mutharika (file photo).

President Peter Mutharika has grabbed unusual applause from his critics following the appointment of High Court judge Chifundo Kachale as chairperson of the new seven-member Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

The opposition political parties, lawyers and electoral advocates unified to commend Mutharika for appointing highly respectable judge Kachale replacing Justice Jane Ansah, who resigned.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali said the party has "very high regards" for judge Kachale.

MCP presented three names to the appointing authority, two who have been hired are corporate governance expert Dr Anthony Mukumbwa and Olivia Liwewe a former member of parliament for Nkhotakota South.

One name, Richard Chapweteka who was a witness in the elections case, was not picked.

In a statement announcing the appointments, Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara said the President has appointed the new commissioners "in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 75 of the Constitution as read with Section 4 of the Electoral Commission [Amendment] Act of 2018".

UTM Party and People's Party (PP) have also applauded the President for the appointment of Kachale as new chairperson.

The parties, however, urged the new commissioners and its chairperson to immediately get down to work and work on holding fresh presidential election.

IT specialist Dr Mathews Mtumbuka, who is the chief executive officer of Ubuntu Network, said he can vouch for judge Kachale to manage Malawi elections, saying many that know him have trust that he will be "objective and do an honourable job."

A renowned private practice lawyer has also dubbed Kachale as a no-nonsense judge the Judiciary has.

Writing on his Facebook wall, Wapona Kita observed that Kachale is a very principled judge.

"If your case is bad before him, it's bad. If it's good, it's good. He is an epitome of what a judge ought to be. And an intelligent too.

"If you are appearing before him, just have your facts and the law right," he said.

Kita stated that he has no reason to doubt his competency as MEC chair.

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholous Dausi commended the opposition parties and commentators for "finally appreciating our President's objectivity in appointments."

Kachale was appointed to the High Court bench in June 2011 having served as the chief resident magistrate for Lilongwe. After graduating from University of Malawi, Kachale worked at Daily Times newspaper as a journalist before going back to further his studies and join the legal profession.

He was born on January 4, 1975 and is married to Mary, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and together they have three children.

He holds a PhD in Law obtained in May, 2013 from SOAS University of London focusing on Constitutionalism and Judicial Theory.

He graduated from Chancellor College with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and later obtained an LLM (Law and Development (Merit) from Queen Mary University of London in November, 2005.

Meanwhile,MEC public relations manager Sangwani Mwafulirwa has since assured of a credible election, saying the commission is putting in place measures to deter recurrence of the challenges faced with previous elections.

Malawi is heading for the fresh presidential election after both the Constitutional Court on February 3 and Supreme Court of Appeal on May 8 2020 found that the May 21 2019 elections had serious irregularities.

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