Malawi: Chakwera Lazarus’s historic victory and lessons for Africa

By James Lukpata

The saying that power comes from God has been proven time and again. From the Biblical accounts of Moses, Jacob and even Esther, the age-long dictum still retains its truism today.

The historic electoral judgement by the Constitutional Court of Malawi at the heat of the awaited presidential election results on the nation’s 2019 presidential election that was eventually cancelled and later saw the leader of the opposition party Lazarus Chakwera who was the second runner up winning the re-run with a margin of 58.57% votes against Mutharika’s 36 % remained monumental to the Malawian political history and the entire African continent.

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Chakwera, the philosophy and theology graduate is a teacher, pentecostal preacher and the son of an ordinary farmer from the Malawian Capital Lilongwe.

It is not new for an opposition party to clinched the number one seat of a Country during an election but what is note worthiness in this situation is the status of the presidential flag bearer of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which is an opposition party Chakwera who is the son of a subsistence farmer but still loved by the people and enjoyed their overwhelming support that gave him the electoral victory at the pool,to defeat the incumbent president Peter Mutharika which is uncommon in the African continet and our political space.

Closely related to the Malawian show of Judicial uprightness,integrity and respect for Democracy is the Kenya’s 2017 presidential election where the then sitting president Uhuru Kenyata tried to wield his power of incumbency to intimidate the judiciary, electoral commission and his top opponent Raila Odinga was unsuccessful as the court stood her ground to deliver judgement without fear or favour leading to Uhuru’s total defeat.

Nigeria and indeed other African countries have Numerous lessons to learnt from both Kenya and Malawi’s elections and their respect for the people,the Judiciary, Democracy and the rule of law.

For instance during the 2019 general elections in Nigeria the scenarios we read about in both Kenya and Malawi were the order of the day whereas the attempt by the incumbent president to replaced the electoral commission’s head,malawi’s military commander and the illegal retirement of the head of the Judiciary were all greeted with stiffed opposition from the personalities,the electorate and the institutions themselves.

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Again, the commitment of the Malawian military towards the protection of the ordinary citizens during the protest that saw the annulment of the presidential result remains a paradigm shift in the annal of the African political journey.

We must as a people thrive for what is right irrespective of our differences to protect and preserve our nascent democracy, the rule of law and the ultimate power of the electorate through political education public enlightenment campaign on the need for good governance and political willingness to serve the public at the expense of personal aggrandizement.

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