Itsanana:Chakwera Takes Over Reins of Power
As Winston Mwale writes, the idea that Malawi's oldest party would one day return to power was a far-fetched fantasy...until this year, thanks to the Chilima Effect.
MALAWI: Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has returned to office after laboriously remaining in opposition for more than a quarter-century, thanks to 'All of Us' (Tonse Alliance).
The partnership, which included the then-estranged Vice President Saulos Chilima, gave the MCP new life.
Lazarus Chakwera, the grouping's torchbearer, was able to garner votes in places that had previously been regarded anti-MCP, such as Ntcheu, which had consistently voted for either the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the United Democratic Front (UDF) throughout the 1990s.
Many people have ascribed this to the "Chilima Effect"!
MCP has been attempting to reclaim power since being booted out of government in 1994, but to no avail.
In 2009, the party even teamed up with its sworn opponent, former President Bakili Muluzi.
Nonetheless, the party was never elected to office.
The idea that Malawi's oldest party would one day return to power was a far-fetched fantasy...until this year, thanks to the Chilima Effect.
At one time the former President Peter Mutharika had the audacity to say this, "Chakwera will never be president of Malawi. I will never allow Chakwera to rule. Over my dead body."
Of course, Mutharika is still alive, at least as we write this.
DPP cadets, including Mutharika, must be complaining, "Our party failed because we had come to see Malawi as a cow to be milked and not a watch dog to be fed," like the old French peasant who made the melancholy statement following the collapse of France in World War II.
Chakwera has apparently reached out to everyone, including his adversaries because he appears to be aware that many people are now living in dread as a result of his ascension to power.
"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. But I want you to remember one thing: 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. I only ask you for one thing in return: To give Dr. Chilima and me a chance to earn your trust and make this win a win for all of us," he said.
Amid ululations from those who thronged his swearing-in ceremony, the country's new leader said, " I pledge to run Malawi well, 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. 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."
The Tonse Alliance's Lazarus Chakwera was named the winner of Tuesday's fresh presidential election by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), in what many have hailed as a free, fair, and credible vote.
Chakwera received 2, 604, 043 votes, or 58.5 percent of the total votes polled, according to MEC Chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale.
Former President Peter Mutharika of the DPP/UDF alliance, on the other hand, came in second place with 1,751, 877 votes.
Peter Kuwani of the Mbakuwaku Movement for Development came in third place with 33,456 votes.
4 445 699 people voted out of a total of 6 859 570 registered voters.
The Commission recorded 57 323 null and void votes, accounting for 1.29 percent of all votes cast.
Chakwera's victory, in his words, "is an honour that has revived the desire of our nation's founders for a New Malawi."