By TARIRO MASUNDA/NYASHA NHAU
THE irrepressible MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa has hailed as a sign for things to come in Zimbabwe, the historic presidential poll victory of Pentecostal church leader Dr Lazarus Chakwera, who like his biblical namesake, rose from the dead but in this case following a rigged electoral loss.
In becoming the sixth Malawian president, the citizens and the courts refused to be unduly pressured by the incumbent Peter Mutharika in a process that led to a rerun with the Malawi Congress Party leader, defeated with 58.57% of the vote in Tuesday’s poll, according to the country’s electoral commission.
Chakwira’s victory has inspired Chamisa’s supporters, who believe that Zimbabwe’s leader Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed the presidency after the electoral commission manipulated a 2.6 million-vote-victory by the charismatic opposition leader in the last national elections.
The opposition took the matter to the courts but unlike in Malawi’s situation the Constitutional court in Zimbabwe threw out the case.
While the judgment remains unpopular among many Zimbabweans the underfire Zanu PF leader Mnangagwa insists that the courts proved that his victory was legit and the opposition must abide with legal decisions.
In response to Chakwera’ s victory Chamisa, who is also a pastor, said in recent Tweet that the Lord had given Malawi a godly man.
He went on to attribute the victory to a unity of purpose exhibited by the people of Malawi together with the government institutions, that stuck to their constitutional mandate to ensure the will of the majority was respected.
“New life to Malawi! Congratulations to the President Elect. A true believer in Christ. Dr Lazarus Chakwera served at the helm of the Assemblies of God for many years. The Lord had given Malawi a Godly man. Kudos to state organs’ professionalism &citizens’ vigilance. Well done Malawi!”
Like the biblical Lazarus Chakwera, who is going to be sworn in today, went on to win a rerun as an opposition candidate after the courts had annulled an election, a feat that is unprecedented in African politics.
Other countries in Africa such as Kenya have had elections annulled, but for an opposition candidate to then go on and win a rerun is unprecedented.
In February, Malawi’s constitutional court annulled Mutharika’s victory in the May 2019 which he and other opposition figures who went on to form the Tonse Alliance successfully disputed in court the election, citing vote tampering.
A joyful Chakwera said is reported to have said his victory was a win for democracy and justice
He was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 to 14 May 2013.
Following the death of two of his brothers born before him, Chakwera’s father, in a faith-filled act, gave him the name Lazarus, the Bible character who was raised from the dead.
The former instructor at the Assemblies of God School of Theology took many by surprise when he declared his intentions to run as president at a Convention of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) while still maintaining the Assemblies of God leadership post.
After his landslide victory at the MCP convention, Chakwera announced his resignation as the Head of the Malawi Assemblies of God (AG) with effect on 14 May 2013.