Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 June 2020:
Following the announcement last Saturday of presidential election results in Malawi by the country’s electoral commission, the African Union Commission has published this statement, congratulating the winner – Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera:
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, wishes to congratulate His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera upon his election as President of the Republic of Malawi following the successful conduct of fresh presidential election in the Republic of Malawi on 23 June 2020, and the subsequent official election results published on Saturday 27 June 2020 by the Malawi Electoral Commission.
“In particular, the Chairperson extends his profound gratitude to the people of Malawi, for demonstrating their firm commitment to democracy, constitutionalism, rule of law, peace and stability.
“The Chairperson commends the outgoing President His Excellency Peter Mutharika for his stewardship of the Republic of Malawi over the years.
“The Chairperson further commends all the political parties, candidates, and their supporters for their collective effort in promoting a democratic, credible, transparent and peaceful electoral process.
“The Chairperson reaffirms the African Union’s commitment to supporting Malawians in their quest to strengthen democratic and participatory governance and ensure sustainable socio-economic development in the country.”
Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera defeated incumbent Peter Mutharika with 58.57% of the vote in last Tuesday’s poll, the electoral commission announced late on Saturday.
In February, Malawi’s constitutional court annulled Mr Mutharika’s victory in the May 2019 election, citing vote tampering. The country was bitterly divided in the run-up to last week’s election.
It is the second African nation to annul a presidential election over irregularities, after Kenya in 2017.
Following the official result on Saturday, Dr Chakwera (Photo above) said his victory was “a win for democracy and justice,” adding: “My heart is bubbling with joy.”
His supporters took to the streets of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, sounding car horns and letting off fireworks.
Reporting for BBC News – Will Ross said: “This is a hugely significant moment in Malawi’s political history, and is evidence that neither the courts nor the electorate were prepared to be bullied or influenced by presidential power. Other countries in Africa have had elections annulled – it happened in Kenya a few years ago – but for the opposition candidate to then go on and win a rerun is unprecedented.”