Lazarus Chakwera was sworn in as Malawi’s new president yesterday, Sunday, after the announcement the previous night that he had won the country’s rerun elections. Chakwera is Malawi’s sixth president after winning the historic polls held last week.
Chakwera’s election came after months of determined street protests against the results of the election more than a year ago, in May 2019, in which Mutharika had been declared the winner. The Constitutional Court struck down the results, citing widespread irregularities including the use of correction fluid on ballots.
It was just the second time in Africa that a court has overturned a presidential election, following a ruling on Kenya’s vote in 2017. Chakwera, 65, said it was an honour to stand before the inaugural crowd as their president. “It’s an honour that feels me with unspeakable joy and immense gratitude. It’s an honour forged in the furnace of your desire and your demand for change,” he said.
Chakwera urged national conciliation in his inaugural address in the capital, Lilongwe, and spoke directly to supporters of defeated incumbent president Peter Mutharika. “Perhaps the prospect of my presidency fills you with fear and grief. I want you to remember one thing, that this new Malawi is home to you, too,” said Chakwera. “So long as I am its president, it will be a home in which you, too, will prosper.”
Chakwera won with 58.57% of votes cast, beating the incumbent president Peter Mutharika, according to official results announced by the Malawi Electoral Commission Saturday night. There were night-long celebrations in the cities and towns across the country.