Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera, a Pentecostal pastor-turned-politician, who was inaugurated on Sunday in the capital Lilongwe after winning the first opposition victory in a court-sanctioned fresh elections has vowed to fight corruption as the country struggles against joblessness and a flagging economy.
Chakwera said he wants to provide leadership that makes everybody prosper, that deals decisively with corruption and theft of public funds and a leadership that will follow the rule of law..
“So I pledge to run Malawi well,” said Chakwera vowing to clamp down on graft, saying “for that is the surest path to Tsogolo Labwino, a path that has long been in ruins, riddled with the potholes of greed and corruption.”.
He added: “ In making this pledge, I am accepting this call to serve you with joy and holy fear, for I am duty bound to God and all of you to give it my best.”
Chakwera was sworn in a day after trouncing Peter Mutharika in a court-ordered election rerun, and also pledged to unite the deeply divided nation and fight poverty.
“I know that there are many of you who did not vote for me in this election, and perhaps the prospect of my presidency fills you with fear and grief,” Chakwera said “This new Malawi is a home for you too and so long as I am its president, it will be a home in which you too will prosper.”
Waxing lyrical to his maided presidential speech, Chakwera said in his powerful American accent :”Of what use is freedom from oppression if you and I are slaves to starvation? Or freedom from colonialism if you are a slave to tribalism?
“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,” Chakwera said.
He continued: “With your help we will restore faith in having a government that serves; not a government that rules, a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates, a government that listens, not a government that shouts but a government that fights for you and not against you.”
The Supreme Court of Appeal last month upheld the Constitutional Court’s annulment of a flawed May 2019 vote that handed Mutharika a second five-year term and sparked a wave of political violence.
Chakwera, who was declared runner-up in that vote, then enlisted Saulos Chilima, the nation’s popular vice president who finished third, as his running mate and united the two main opposition parties’ support bases.