Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "We wish to extend our hearty congratulations to His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President-Elect of the Republic of Malawi and Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President-Elect of the Republic of Malawi", the members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) said in a collective statement issued Saturday, June 27, after Malawi’s Electoral Commission (MEC) declared opposition alliance leader Lazarus Chakwera the winner of the country's presidential election rerun, with 58.57 percent of the votes, beating the incumbent Peter Mutharika.
"We strongly call upon them to live up to their promises and be committed to fighting corruption, enforcing the rule of law and Constitutionalism, quality public service delivery, economic development for all which is a true meaning of leadership which is at the service of citizens and national unity", the Bishops hope
In February, the Constitutional Court of Malawi had reversed Mutharika's victory in May 2019, after experiencing serious electoral fraud, and imposed new elections. The election campaign was marked by tensions. This is why the Bishops applaud "the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Defense Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service (MPS), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media and the citizens for attaining this democratic milestone amidst political, institutional and financial hiccups and uncertainties".
The Bishops point out that MEC "has displayed a very high level of professionalism in presiding over the fresh election. It is further gratifying and commendable that the newly constituted MEC effectively delivered the election while facing acute financial deficiencies. Such competence and exquisite capacity in handling the polls has restored the public trust in election management in Malawi".
The Church leaders have also commended the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) "for bolstering the security in safeguarding the vote as well as protecting the citizens, voters and polling staff during polling and subsequent exercises like vote counting, transmission of results and tallying", and the Malawi Police Service (MPS) "that demonstrated exceptional professional standards in dealing with criminal activities during the Election Day".
The Bishops also commend the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and all faith-based bodies for effective observation of the election to enhance its credibility.
Finally the Bishops congratulate the Malawians "for being steadfast in jealously guarding against their vote", and conclude by inviting everyone "to pray for peace, unity and harmony in the Country".
65-year-old Chakwera previously worked as a Pentecostal preacher and professor of theology. At the head of a coalition of nine parties, the Tonse Alliance, President Chakwera had the support of former President Joyce Banda. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 30/6/2020)