Malawi Opposition Leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has today been sworn after becoming the first African opposition leader to beat an incumbent in a general election after the Malawi constitutional court overturned the Malawi election citing widespread irregularities. Chakwera won the election in a rerun where he garnered 58.7% of the vote beating the incumbent President Peter Mutharika. Malawi becomes the second country to nullify a presidential election after Kenya’s poll was nullified by the Supreme Court in 2017, ordering a repeat election be conducted within 60 days.
In his acceptance speech, Chakwera promised the people of Malawi that he would serve them and not rule over them. “I know there are many of you who didn’t vote me and the prospect of my presidency gives you fear, I want you know that my administration will strive to give equal opportunities for all of us together.”
The Malawi poll in which Mutharika won narrowly with less than 159,000 votes was conducted in 2019 but was nullified by the court in February after Chakwera argued that the tallying forms had tampered with. The incumbent termed the nullification a ‘serious subversion of justice’, raising concerns on the safety of carrying out another election in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The historic win has sent ripples all over Africa. Opposition Chief Raila Odinga has congratulated the 65 year old President-elect terming Malawi as a symbol of hope for those who support democracy in Africa and around the world. He also congratulated the outgoing President Mutharika for creating an environment for ‘a peaceful and orderly transfer of power’.
I congratulate the people of Malawi on the successful and peaceful presidential election and incoming President Lazarus Chakwera on his impressive victory.
I commend the outgoing President Peter Mutharika for creating the environment for a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) June 28, 2020