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Malawi’s Dr. Lazarus Chakwera sworn in President after defeating Peter Mutharika

Dr. Lazarus Chakwera leader of the Tonse Alliance and Malawi Congress Party has been declared winner of presidential election rerun by the Malawi’s electoral commission and subsequently sworn in.  Chakwera, 65, won 58.57% of the vote in Tuesday’s poll, a dramatic reversal of the result of the original election in May 2019, which was later overturned by the courts.

Dr. Chawera was sworn in four days after Malawians returned to the polls almost five months after the constitutional court annulled the results of a May 2019 vote over irregularities.  “Time has come for us to wake up and to make our dreams come true,” Mr Chakwera said in his victory speech.

Chakwera’s running mate, Saulos Chilima was also sworn in as vice-president at a ceremony in the capital, Lilongwe.  Mr Chakwera, a Pentecostal preacher and former theology lecturer, will first have to heal a nation that has been through many months of political turmoil.  The Tonse Alliance is a nine-party coalition that was backed by former President Joyce Banda as well Mr Chilima, who served as deputy to the immediate former President Mutharika.

Immediate former President Peter Mutharika criticized the repeat elections describing the results as “unacceptable”, but added that it was his “sincere hope that we should take this country forward instead of backwards.” According to BBC’s Peter Jegwa in Lilongwe, Mr Mutharika did not attend the ceremony because the law does not require the outgoing president to be present when a successor is taking over.

The win by Chakwera has been hailed as unprecedented with leaders including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga, KANU leader Gideon Moi sending congratulatory messages to the new President.

“Time has come for us to go beyond dreaming, time has come for us to wake up, to arise from slumber, and to make our dreams come true,” said President Chakwera.

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