Malawi opposition chief Lazarus Chakwera has been sworn in because the country’s new president after beating the incumbent Peter Mutharika in an historical rerun vote.

“With your attend, we are in a position to restore the nation’s faith within the opportunity of a govt that serves. Not a govt that rules. A govt that conjures up, now not a govt that infuriates. A govt that listens, now not a govt that shouts. A govt that fights for you and never in opposition to you,” acknowledged Chakwera for the length of Sunday’s ceremony attended by hundreds within the capital, Lilongwe.

Chakwera garnered 2.6 million of the 4.4 million votes forged, representing about 59 p.c, in opposition to Mutharika’s 1.7 million votes, or about 39 p.c, Malawi’s Electoral Rate acknowledged gradual on Saturday.

“The cease result’s now not surprising the least bit. It is a ways what most Malawians were looking ahead to. The most straightforward component persons are surprised with is the earn margin,” Jimmy Kainja, a lecturer in media, communication and cultural compare on the College of Malawi, told Al Jazeera.

Lazarus Chakwera

Lazarus Chakwera modified into a Pentecostal preacher for bigger than two a long time earlier than venturing into politics [Amos Gumulira]

It modified into the second time in 13 months that Malawians went to the polls to forged their pollon Tuesday in a presidential election.

In February, the southeastern African country’s Constitutional Court docket threw out the outcomes of the Would maybe 2019 election alleging frequent irregularities – a switch simplest considered once in Africa earlier than and under no circumstances in Malawi.

The electoral rate in the beginning declared President Peter Mutharika, who has been in energy since 2014, winner of the discredited poll, claiming he garnered 38.5 p.c of the votes. Chakwera, the Pentecostal pastor became politician, won 35.4 p.c of the votes forged, the electoral rate acknowledged.

The announcement ended in months-prolonged street protests with demonstrators claiming their votes were stolen.

Malawi save for landmark presidential rerun (02: 13)

In a expose to america Mutharika – the brother of mature president, the gradual Bingu wa Mutharika – Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Celebration (MCP) alongside with several opposition parties formed a coalition, the Tonse Alliance.

Ancient president Joyce Banda moreover joined the 9-get collectively coalition.

Chakwera’s resolution to workforce up with Saulos Chilima, who completed third in final yr’s poll, seem to receive earned electoral advantages.

“This election modified into a historical one. Our democracy and judiciary plan at final came of age. Malawians and the guideline of legislation won,” Kainja added.

Opposition hopes

Away from Lilongwe, the significance of Chakwera’s earn has now not been lost on the continent’s prolonged-suffering opposition groups, who receive sent congratulatory messages to the newly elected chief.

“Fresh existence to Malawi! Congratulations to the President Elect. Kudos to negate organs’ professionalism & residents’ vigilance. Properly done Malawi!,” tweeted Nelson Chamisa, Zimbabwe’s opposition chief.

Zambia’s predominant opposition chief Hakainde Hichilema tweeted that Malawians “receive save an ideal example for Africa!”.

Mmusi Maimane, mature chief of South Africa’s predominant opposition Democratic Alliance, moreover tweeted: “My friend, brother and chief has loyal won the Malawian elections … Trade is coming,” Maimane wrote.

Unifying the country

Support home in Malawi, the brand new chief has ambitious challenges forward. The historical election and the heated campaign period uncovered bitter regional divisions within the country of 18 million people.

The southern piece of the landlocked country voted overwhelmingly for Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Celebration (DPP), while the central arena went for the Tonse Alliance.

The new chief might want to bridge the political divide, in conserving with analysts.

“The new president has to switch in quick and assemble all Malawians, especially those from the regions that didn’t vote for him. The election created bad regional divisions that might perhaps also quiet be addressed,” Boniface Dulani, compare director on the Institute of Public Notion and Study (IPOR), told Al Jazeera.

In the meantime, Kainja from the College of Malawi, acknowledged Chakwera, a preacher for bigger than two a long time earlier than venturing into politics, modified into neatly positioned to beat this negate.

“Chakwera will be ready to handle this with none gigantic issues. There are leaders from practically all regions of the country within the alliance. As an illustration, Joyce Banda comes from the southern piece of the country. This will most certainly be a negate but one which he can take care of,” he acknowledged. 

Coronavirus disregarded

With the election now out of the manner, Malawians can flip their consideration wait on to battling the coronavirus. The campaign period modified into marked with trim public rallies with preventive measures admire social distancing now not adhered to.

As of Saturday, Malawi recorded now not lower than 1,005 conditions and 13 fatalities, in conserving with a tally by the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“For the length of the campaign period, it modified into as if there modified into no COVID-19 in Malawi. Other people were behaving as if all the issues is common. Some were even dismissive. The new chief needs to prioritise this and attach lives,” Dulani, the researcher at IPOR, acknowledged.

Rampant corruption

Expectations are excessive that the brand new administration will take care of rampant corruption within the country, which is ranked 123 out of 180 countries in Transparency Global’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

“The new govt need to empower the country’s anti-corruption body. Other persons are genuinely bored to death in loyal speaking about corruption. They want an cease to it. It modified into one among the predominant the clarification why people voted the earlier govt out of space of job,” Dulani added.

Police reform

Public self assurance within the country’s police force is moreover at an all-time low. Following the announcement of ultimate yr’s election outcomes, protesters and police were all in favour of violent clashes.

“The police force needs to be revamped and reformed. For a extraordinarily prolonged time, the police force modified into loyal an extension of the ruling get collectively. Senior officers were appointed now not due to their competency but in conserving with their loyalty to the ruling get collectively,” Kainja acknowledged.

Polling stations and vote casting materials were secured by the country’s navy, which had come out of barracks after protesters took to the streets to articulate their infuriate over the 2019 election outcomes.

All eyes are now on the Tonse Alliance to peep whether this might perhaps attend its promise of overhauling the police force.

For hundreds of, the hope now might perhaps maybe be for Mutharika to be a solid opposition articulate in parliament.

“We would like a solid opposition in parliament to attend the ruling get collectively in take a look at. We would like a intelligent democracy. My hope is Mutharika stays in politics and doesn’t switch out of the country,” Dulani acknowledged. 

Practice Hamza Mohamed on Twitter: @Hamza_Africa