Newly elected Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has challenged fellow Malawians to work hard as a team to rebuild the country after years of impunity and corruption which has left it in “rubbles.”Chakwera was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday following the cancellation of the country’s 56th Independence Day celebrations due to fears of spreading the coronavirus pandemic at the 40,000-seat Bingu National Stadium in the Malawi capital.
Instead, the president held a scaled down ceremony to receive his Sword of Command from the Malawi Army at the Kamuzu Barracks before 100 invited guests wearing masks that included Vice President Saulos Chilima and Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu who represented President John Magufuli at the colourful gathering.
The sword is a symbolic gesture from the army indicating that it had acknowledged Chakwera as its commander-in-chief.
During his hour-long speech following a military parade, the president said the country’s leadership in the past two decades had failed Malawians due to impunity and corruption in service delivery.
He challenged Malawians to “work hard as a team in order to rebuild the country from the rubble upwards.”
For this to be achieved, there should be a “collective responsibility by all of us Malawians. We must clear the rubble of impunity in government and other institutions which has left the country in ruins,” the former evangelist said.
He said there would be pain in the rebuilding process, and he challenged his compatriots to make sure this did not deter them from making progress, adding that only Malawians would the country “and nobody else.”
Chakwera said he would do his best to both serve the country and Malawians as their servant.
“We must take responsibility in the rebuilding of Malawi. If we have been part of the problem, then it’s time for us to be part of the solution,” the president said.
He thanked Malawians from all walks of life – starting with the ordinary people, businesses, soldiers, the judiciary and civil servants – for their courage in fostering regime change peacefully.
Former President Peter Mutharika lost the 23 June presidential election re-run following a court order to do so due to “massive irregularities” found in the May 2019 general elections.