President Lazarus Chakwera and his deputy Saulos Chilima Sunday took oaths of their respective offices after triumphing in last Tuesday’s court-ordered election with Chakwera promising to work hard to deliver a better future for the country ranked among the poorest in the world.
Clad in a three-piece black suit, white shirt, red necktie and black shoes and wearing spectacles, Chakwera, the son of Ernes and Malen, admitted in his Chichewa speech that he was shaking with fear and happiness.
Chakwera amassed 58.57 percent of the votes in the election, ahead of former president Peter Mutharika and Mbakuwaku Movement for Development leader Peter Kuwani and was declared winner.
“To stand before you as your President today is an honour. It’s an honour that fills me with unspeakable joy and immense gratitude. It’s an honour forged in the furnace of your desire and demand for change.
“It’s an honour crafted by your hand when you braved the winter chill to cast your vote. It’s an honour that has reignited the dream of our nation’s founders for a New Malawi,” Chakwera said.
According to Chakwera, who represented the Tonse Alliance, a grouping of nine political parties in the June 23 fresh presidential election time has come for Malawi to arise from the slumber of the country’s dream and make the dream true.
“So 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,” Chakwera said.
He added that him alongside Chilima accept the huge challenge ahead of them in transforming Malawi into a prosperous nation.
“We will pursue it, not just as servants accountable to you voters, but as stewards of the hopes of millions of children, born and unborn, who have no vote. With your help, we will restore a new generation’s faith in the possibility of 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; a government that fights for you, not against you.
“Now, I am no stranger to the benefits of good government. Although I was raised in a poor village like most Malawians; raised without inherited riches or political connections like most Malawians; raised without electricity or running water like most Malawians; I stand here today because I had one of the blessings of God that young Malawians today do not: The blessing of growing up in a well-governed Malawi,” Chakwera said.
He observed that although the country has enjoyed freedom for a long time it is the dream of every Malawian to enjoy shared prosperity, not just freedom.
“For of what use is freedom from oppression if you are a slave to starvation? Or freedom from colonialism if you are a slave to tribalism? Of what use is freedom from tyranny if you are a slave to poverty?
“No! The dream was for all of us, together, to be the ones who enjoy the riches of Malawi’s soil; to be the ones who make the products of her industries; to be the ones who harvest the bounties of her fields; to be the ones who are served by her taxes; and to be the ones who raise the skylines of her cities,” Chakwera said.
The new Malawi Leader was quick to note that there are many Malawians who did not vote for him who are now beginning to live in fear in fear and grief.
He assured them that the new Malawi is a home for all Malawians including those who did not for him.
Chakwera told thousands of jubilant Tonse Alliance supporters that as long as he is president of Malawi, they too will prosper.
“I only ask you for one thing in return: To give Dr. Chilima and I a chance to earn your trust and make this win a win for all of us. That is how we will fulfill the dream of Malawi watsopano okomela tonse,” Chakwera said.
Among the dignitaries present include former President Joyce Banda, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, Former Vice President of Zambia, Nevas Mumba, former Malawi Congress Party President John Tembo, former official hostess, Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, former vice president Khumbo Kachali and many others.
In an interview on the sidelines of the event, Tembo, who represented the MCP during the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections, said he was overjoyed to see the party bouncing back into government after 26 years in the opposition.
Conspicuously missing during the event were Mutharika, Kuwani, former president Bakili Muluzi and Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara.