African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been among the first to congratulate President Lazarus Chakwera on his victory as Malawi’s sixth president.
The country went into polls on Tuesday for a fresh presidential election, whose Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced on Saturday that Chakwera won, ousting Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from the seat.
In the statements released on Sunday, the day Chakwera was sworn in, AU chairperson and SADC chairperson of the Politics Defense and Cooperation organ, Cyril Ramaphosa and Emerson Mnangagwa respectively commended Malawians for conducting peaceful elections.
Ramaphosa, who is South African president also congratulated all stakeholders involved in the success of the election he has branded as historic.
He further said the peaceful elections have served to deepen democracy in Malawi, and that he re-committed the Union to continued closer working ties with the new Government to enhance cooperation with focus on strengthening economic development and integration.
On his part, Mnangagwa, who is Zimbabwe president, urged candidates during the fresh polls to accept the results and follow proper electoral procedures should they have grievances on the electoral process.
“Furthermore, SADC applauds the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the efficient and effective organisation and management of the re-run Presidential Elections in the face of challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. SADC has and will remain engaged with key electoral stakeholders in Malawi and render its support in the post-election period as necessary,” reads the statement.
The Malawi Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Constitutional Court to nullify the May 21 presidential election after Chakwera and UTM president, who is also state vice president, Saulos Chilima sought redress on the irregularities that marred the process.
Chakwera then formed an Alliance with Chilima dubbed Tonse which managed to amass 58% of the votes beating Mutharika.
They were sworn in on Sunday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) on Sunday.