Lazarus Chakwera took over as President of Malawi after winning a new election.
“The time has come for us to wake up and make our dreams come true,” Chakwera said in his victory speech.
He defeated incumbent Peter Mutharika with 58.57% of the vote in Tuesday’s poll.
In February, the Malawi constitutional court annulled Mutharika’s victory in the May 2019 elections, citing vote manipulation.
The country was bitterly divided in the run-up to this week’s elections.
Other countries in Africa have had elections canceled, it happened in Kenya in 2017, but for the opposition candidate to continue and win a new election is unprecedented.
Speaking before Saturday’s results, Mutharika said that while the elections seemed “unacceptable” to him, it was his “sincere hope that we should take this country forward rather than backward.”
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Saulos Chilima, Chakwera’s running mate, was also sworn in as a vice president at a ceremony in the capital, Lilongwe.
Chakwera, a Pentecostal preacher and former professor of theology, will first have to heal a nation that has gone through many months of political turmoil.
What did the new president say?
“The Malawian comrades who stand before you as your president today is an honor,” Chakwera said in a speech after the oath.
He promised to unite the country and fight poverty.
“What is the use of freeing yourself from oppression if you and I are slaves to hunger? Or freeing yourself from colonialism if you are a slave to tribalism?” He said.
“The time has come to go beyond dreaming, the time has come for us to wake up, get up from the dream and make our dreams come true,” said Chakwera.
“With your help, we will restore faith in having a government that serves; not a government that governs, a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates, a government that listens, not a government that screams, but a government that fights for you. and not against you, “he added.
Mutharika did not attend the ceremony because the law does not require the outgoing president to be present when a successor takes office, reports BBC BBC’s Peter Jegwa in Lilongwe.
Why was there a new vote?
A repeat of the 2019 elections was ordered after the Constitutional Court determined that the original ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.
In that election, President Mutharika was narrowly re-elected by less than 159,000 votes.
Chakwera, who ranked second in that election, argued that the count forms had been incorrectly added up and tampered with.
First choiceon May 21, 2019
Mutharikajury on May 27, 2019
Thousands proteston June 20, 2019, complaining of fraud
Constitutional courtvoid the result on February 3, 2020 and rerun orders
Court rejectsMutharika’s appeal on May 8, 2020
Uncertainty surrounding the result sparked months of tension, which escalated into clashes between opposition supporters and the police.
The February annulment led some to celebrate, but Mutharika described it as a “serious subversion of justice” that marked the death of the country’s democracy.
There was concern about the logistics and security of holding an election amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Who Lazarus Chakwera ?
The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the graduate in philosophy and theology has vowed to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.
Tonse Alliance Candidate
Born April 5, 1955
Studied theology in Malawi, South Africa and the United States
Pastor and teacher worked at the Assemblies of God School of Theology
Author various books on religion, including Reach the Nations
Ran for president in 2014 and came in second
Source: BBC Monitoring
Chakwera leads a nine-party coalition, the Tonse Alliance, and was supported by former President Joyce Banda and also by Mr. Chilima, who served as a deputy for Mr. Mutharika.