The Sunday News
President Mnangagwa has hailed the people of Malawi for overcoming the twin challenges of Covid-19 and voting without observers in a historic election rerun that saw opposition leader Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera defeating incumbent Prof Peter Mutharika.
The President, who is also the Sadc chairperson for the Organ of Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation pledged to work with Dr Chakwera — the 6th President of Malawi — to strengthen global peace and cooperation.
“Your Excellency and dear brother, may I take this opportunity to commend the people of Malawi for showing great maturity and patience in exercising their democratic right against twin odds of Covid-19 global pandemic, as well as voting in the absence of international observers. Your country has indeed demonstrated that great things can be achieved when people have a common purpose,” said the President.
Malawi went to the polls last week after the country’s constitutional court in February annulled results of last year’s elections after unearthing several irregularities.
Amid tensions between supporters of Dr Chakwera and Prof Mutharika, Malawi — a former British colony — went to the elections but without observers as is the norm due to hamstrings caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President pledged to ensure that the two countries will continue to enjoy bilateral relations.
“Let me assure you of my Government’s commitment to further strengthen and broaden the excellent bilateral relations that exist between our two countries. I look forward to working with you at the regional, continental and international levels to promote international peace, security and development.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to convey to you our warmest congratulations on your election to the high office of President of the Republic of Malawi — ample testimony to the trust and confidence that the people of Malawi have in your capacity to lead your great country to a more prosperous future,” he said.
Dr Chakwera polled 58 percent against Prof Mutharika’s 40 percent.
Speaking in his capacity as the chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Mnangagwa urged the candidates who took part in the 23rd elections to accept the results.
“SADC urges the candidates who took part in the re-run presidential election in the Republic of Malawi and their supporters to accept the official results of the election as announced by the Malawi Electoral Commission, and to observe the national electoral and constitutional processes should they have grievances regarding the electoral process,” he said.
A former Pentecostal preacher and theology lecturer, Dr Chakwera, 67, was sworn-in yesterday in the country’s capital city of Lilongwe.
In his acceptance speech Dr Chakwera promised to serve the people regardless of their political persuasions.
At the swearing in Dr Chakwera said: “I do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform the functions of the high office of President, of the Republic of Malawi, and that I will preserve and defend the constitution, and that I will do right to all manner of the people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, so help me God.
“The time is up for us to stop dreaming. With your help, we’ll restore your faith by being a government that stands for the needs of Malawians.
“I know there are many of you who didn’t vote me and the prospect of my presidency gives you fear; I want you to know that my administration will strive to give equal opportunities for all of us together.
“I pledge to run Malawi as that is the path to ‘Tsogolo labwino’, meaning better future,” he said.
Meanwhile, outgoing President Mutharika on Saturday asked the country to “move on peacefully” and respect the poll outcome.
Zimbabwe and Malawi, along with Zambia were once part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, a colonial federation that consisted of the three southern African countries between 1953 and 1963.