Malawi: Chakwera Makes Cover of New African Magazine As 'God's Man in State House'

6 August 2020

President Lazarus Chakwera has received plenty of praise for his transformational, inspirational leadership and 'clearing the rubble of corruption' campaign which has now made him a cover star on Africa's bestselling magazine, the London-based New African latest edition.

Chakwera, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader, who won the June 23 2020 court-sanctioned presidientila elections, has been featured four pages in an exclusive interview he gave to New African.

'God's man in State House' is the title of the interview story which has been published.

It reports that like his Biblical namesake, Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera metaphorically came back from the dead.He won Malawi's re-run Presidential elections, held on 23 June this year when he defeated Peter Mutharika, the former President.

The magazine also profiled Chakwera, a former church leader who said he wanted to 'clear the rubble' of corruption that has blighted this Southern African country for decades and to be a unifying figure.

Can 'the man of God' deliver where so many of his more secular predecessors have failed?

Will he be able to reconcile his deeply-held religious ethics with the worldly demands of political expediency? Will Chakwera, as many across Africa hope, set a new bar for Presidential behaviour while in office?

The magazine quizzed Chakwera.

But the Malawi leader eloquently tackled the questions and gave plausible answers.

"I have a pastor that speaks into my life and I go to that church. Even when I go to other churches, I am glad to be ministered to by other preachers.

"Immediately I was sworn in as President, the first Sunday I walked to church, it was just a normal service to me. I didn't make all of those [Presidential] demands, and neither did people expect that I would have all of the things that go with being President. I am a very simple man, I have always been, despite the ministry I had worldwide and in this nation. I can still preach. I didn't say that I left Ministry. This [the Presidency] is ministry to me and and it is a ministry in a different fashion," said Chakwera.

Chakwera also told the publicatipn that his administration will "work together with everyone and anyone who is willing to make sure that our vision gets fulfilled."

He said: "I am not looking at the West or the East or the North or South. I just want everyone who is able to understand our vision to say, 'We can partner with you.'We will bring in those who will fit in with our desire to bring jobs to our people and make sure they get involved in developing this country; ensure that the women get uplifted and get involved in developing this country too; and we [will] take care of the small percentage of old people in the country so that they too feel that they are dignified even in their old age.

"We will do all we can, even as we make the necessary preparations for children, young people, and toddlers, and help early childhood development centres across the country."

He continued: "We want to make sure that we have a society that has the best of its human resource so they can render the best in taking care of the natural resource."

In its profile article, New African reported that Chakwera's background is as interesting as his short political career, which started in May 2013.

Born on 5 April 1955 in a small village on the outskirts of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, Chakwera was named Lazarus because his parents had lost two sons before him in infancy and his father, believing that this Lazarus would live, like his Biblical namesake who was raised up from the dead, gave him the name to show his faith in God.

Chakwera's educational background shows where his heart is. A BA (in philosophy) from the University of Malawi in 1977, was followed by three degrees in theology - first, an honours degree from the University of the North in South Africa, a master's degree (M.Th) from the University of South Africa in 1991, and a doctorate (D.Min) from the Trinity International University in the US in 2000.

Since graduating, he has worked as a professor at the Pan-Africa Theological Seminary, an instructor and later principal at the Assemblies of God School of Theology, and a lecturer and co-director at the All Nations Theological Seminary.

In 1989, he became the president of the Assemblies of God Malawi and stayed in that position until August 2013, when he was elected as the leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the oldparty of the country's first president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who won independence from Britain on 6 July 1964.

Chakwera was the MCP Presidential candidate in 2014, and though he was beaten into second place by Peter Mutharika in what was largely seen as an election full of irregularities, he appealed for calm, asking his members to accept the result and wait for the 2019 elections instead.

By being a politician, Chakwera insists that he is still doing God's work in another capacity. For this year's presidential elections, he teamed up with eight other parties in what they call a

Tonse Alliance. This allowed the opposition vote to be consolidated, leading to victory over Mutharika. With his running mate, Saulos Chilima, Chakwera campaigned on a platform to transform Malawi into a middle-income country.

His approach to governance, according to him, is premised on five core pillars: servant leadership, uniting Malawians, prospering together, the rule of law and judicial independence, and

New African is an English-language monthly news magazine based in London. Published since 1966, it is read by many people across the African continent and the African diaspora. It is the oldest pan-African monthly in English, as well as "the bestselling pan-African magazine". It is published by IC Publications, which also publishes African Banker, New African Woman and African Business.

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