Lazarus Chakwera

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Lazarus Chakwera
Lazarus Chakwera Profile.png
Lazarus Chakwera during his inauguration speech
President of Malawi
Assumed office
28 June 2020
Vice PresidentSaulos Chilima
Preceded byPeter Mutharika
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
28 June 2020
DeputyJean Munaowauza Sendeza
Preceded byPeter Mutharika
Leader of Opposition
In office
May 2014 – February 2019
Preceded byJohn Tembo
Succeeded byLobin Lowe
Member of Parliament
from Lilongwe North West
In office
May 2014 – May 2019
Personal details
Born
Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera

(1955-04-05) 5 April 1955 (age 65)
Lilongwe, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Malawi)
Political partyMalawi Congress Party, Tonse Alliance
Spouse(s)Monica Chakwera
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Malawi
University of the North
University of South Africa
Trinity International University

Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera (born 5 April 1955) is a Malawian theologian and politician who has served as President of Malawi since June 2020.[1] In addition to the Presidency, he also gave himself a cabinet portfolio as Minister of Defence. He has been leader of the Malawi Congress Party since 2013 and was previously Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly following highly controversial elections held on 21 May 2019 which were overturned by the Constitutional Court. He was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 to 14 May 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Lazarus Chakwera was born in Lilongwe, the current capital of Malawi, on 5 April 1955[2] when the country was still under British colonial rule.[3] His family were subsistence farmers in the city's outskirts.[4] He is married to Monica and together, they have four children and grandchildren.[5]

Education[edit]

Chakwera graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) Degree from the University of Malawi in 1977. He studied theology and gained an Honours degree from the University of the North in South Africa and gained a master's degree (MTh) from the University of South Africa in 1991.[5] The Trinity International University in the United States awarded him a doctorate (D. Min) in 2000. He became a professor at the Pan-Africa Theological Seminary in 2005.[3]

Theological career[edit]

He has worked as an instructor at the Assemblies of God's School of Theology from 1983 to 2000 where he became the Principal in 1996. He has been the co-director and a lecturer at All Nations Theological Seminary.[6] Since 1989 he has presided over the Malawi Assemblies of God.[6] On 14 April 2013 he took many by surprise when he declared his intentions to run at a Convention of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as president while still maintaining the Assemblies of God Presidency.[7]

Political career[edit]

Rumours of Chakwera's intention to run in the MCP's presidential race were first reported in online media on 9 April 2013.[8] They were confirmed on 14 April 2013.[7] Chakwera later submitted his nomination papers while still at the helm of the Malawi Assemblies of God.[9] The MCP convention slated for 27 April 2013 was later postponed[10] to 10 and 11 August where he was elected as the president of MCP and he represented the party in the 2014 general election. During 2014 Malawi General elections, rumors speculated in different platforms that the elections were rigged. Chakwera addressed all Malawians to remain peaceful, accept the outcome, and wait for the next coming elections. Besides being successful as the main opposition party president, he also served as a member of parliament for the Lilongwe North West Constituency.

Chakwera announced his resignation as the Head of the Malawian Assemblies of God, effective 14 May 2013.[11] He said this would enable him to concentrate more on front-line politics, taking the view that he was still serving God in another context.[11] Chakwera joined forces with UTM leader Saulos Chilima and multiple other parties to form the 'Tonse Alliance' in preparation for the June 2020 Malawi General elections, with Chilima running as Vice President.[12] This happened when Court ruled out the 2019 General elections due to massive irregularities after DPP claimed victory.

Chakwera defeated incumbent president Peter Mutharika in the 2020 election, having obtained almost 59% of the vote. Chakwera was sworn in as the sixth president of Malawi on 28 June. On this occasion, Malawi made history as the first African country to have its presidential election result overturned due to irregularities and an opposition leader went on to win the rerun election.[1]

Presidency[edit]

Cabinet appointments[edit]

Soon after Chakwera's election as president, he became subject to criticism over appointing mutually related family members to cabinet. Chakwera's 31 member cabinet announced after inauguration had six members all of whom are relatives with another member of the cabinet. Mo Sidik Mia, Chakwera's running mate in 2019, was appointed Minister of Transport and Public Works and his wife Abida Mia the Deputy Minister for Lands.[13] Kenny Kandodo and his sister Khumbize Kandodo both occupied ministerial posts, the former being the Minister for Labour while the latter being the Minister for Health. Similarly, Gospel Kazako became Minister of Information while his sister-in-law Nkhuso Nkhuma became the Deputy Minister for Agriculture. More than 70% of the cabinet ministers were from the central region of Malawi, Chakwera's traditional stronghold.[14] Chakwera defended his decisions, saying that he will address concerns related to the appointments.[15]

Trimming executive powers[edit]

Chakwera has said that he was working to trim executive powers to make Presidents more accountable to people and increase powers of other branches of the government.[16]

Chairperson of SADC[edit]

Lazarus Chakwera was elected by member states of SADC as the Chairperson of the group. He will be the successor to current Chair, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi. Chakwera will start his tenure in August 2021.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Lazarus Chakwera sworn in as Malawi president after historic win". BBC News. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Curriculum Vita: Lazarus M. Chakwera, BA, BTh (Hons), MTh., D.Min" (PDF). Wise One From The East. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Man of God, Welcome to Cut Throat Politics". Zodiakmalawi.com. 17 April 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Personal Story of Lazarus Chakwera : AGTV". Agtv.ag.org. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Malawi on the road to 2014: Rev. Dr. Lazarous Chakwera". Nyasa Times. 15 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b "On the Road to 2014: Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera". Malawi Voice. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Chakwera guns for MCP presidency". Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Rev Chakwera, Munlo linked to MCP leadership contest: Malawi on the road to 2014 | Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi". Nyasa Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Chakwera presents nomination papers for MCP presidency: Malawi road to 2014 | Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi". Nyasa Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Malawi Congress Party convention postponed indefinitely | Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi". Nyasa Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b Politics. "Chakwera steps down as Malawi Assemblies of God president: To concentrate on front-line politics". Nyasa Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  12. ^ Mohamed, Hamza. "After historic election, what next for Malawi?". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Malawi president under fire for family appointments to cabinet". www.aljazeera.com.
  14. ^ "Anger after Malawi President Chakwera appoints family members to cabinet". The Star.
  15. ^ Chiuta, Wongani (10 July 2020). "Malawi: Chakwera Defends His First Malawi Cabinet Appointments, Denies It Stinks of Incest". allAfrica.com.
  16. ^ "Malawi President Working to Trim Executive Powers | Voice of America - English". www.voanews.com.
  17. ^ "Chakwera to lead Sadc from 2021: Malawi to hosts Heads of State summit". www.nyasatimes.com.
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Mutharika
President of Malawi
2020–present
Incumbent