History awaits Lazarous McCarthy Chakwera. He is president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), leader of opposition in Parliament and next year 2019 is the popular favourite to become the sixth Head of State of Malawi since 1964, after Hastings Kamuzu Banda (MCP), Bakili Muluzi – United Democratic Front (UDF), Bingu wa Mutharika – Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Joyce Banda – People’s Party (PP) and the incumbent Arthur Peter Mutharika, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Why Chakwera for presidency?
It is simple. The people of Malawi want change and they want it now. He is the man people of Malawi are looking to for meaningful change and a different style of servant leadership. He is principled with powerful credentials befitting someone whose availability is more of a calling than mere ambitions. Chakwera comes across as a brave God fearing man who may offer Malawians much better then the current style of leadership that is full of nepotism,corruption and cronyism.
Some misguided critics have written and stood on platforms arguing Chakwera as a clergy man and therefore may not find it that easy to settle on the First Citizen’s seat, but is obvious that such people are lacking knowledge in the political history of Malawi. All they need to do is revisit and trace the footsteps of political leadership from the times of the Reverend John Chilembwe, father of African nationalist struggle in 1915, founder of the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) to the birth of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) whose first President-General, Levi Mumba was an elder in the Church of Scotland (Blantyre) and religious backgrounds of many that fought for the independence of Malawi.
Kamuzu Banda, was baptized into the Church of Scotland by Dr George Prentice, the missionary responsible for Kasungu before he set to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) by foot in search of further education in 1915 from where he adventured to South Africa, America and Scotland.
Back home two of Banda’s first ministers – Henry Masauko Chipembere and John Dunstan Msonthi were sons of Anglican priests. John Tembo who Chakwera succeeded in 2014 was also son of a clergy in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Nkhoma Synod.
Lest people forget, the multiparty dispensation still in its infancy was steered by the clergy, the Catholic Bishops who after issuing a Pastoral Letter on March 8, 1992 opened a new chapter in Malawi politics. It will, therefore, not be strange that the consolidation of that long journey is this time be in the hands of Chakwera, a clergy with the capacity to keep Malawi on the right and smooth track.
At the age of 22 Chakwera graduated from the University of Malawi with a Bachelor of Arts (philosophy), Honors (University of the North and the University of South Africa, Doctorate in 2002 (Trinity International University, Illinois, USA and awarded Professorship by the Pan African Theological Seminary in 2005.
Chakwera has worked as an instructor at the Assemblies of God where he later became president as well as co-director of All Nations Theological Seminary and finally President of the Assemblies of God Church in Malawi. His calling to mainstream politics prevailed when he announced he had resigned as Head of the Assemblies of God Church in Malawi effective May 14, 2013, incidentally the day Malawians celebrated the birth of the Father and Founder of the Nation, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
He won the MCP presidency with a landslide on his first attempt to succeed long time veteran politician John Tembo. In 2014 he was declared second in an election vote-count whose legal challenges were not concluded, but called on his followers to forget the past and start preparing for the 2019 Tripartite General Elections.
A religious man who came on the political scene to serve Malawians with love, dignity and dedication as God’s people in the same manner he did as a pastoral servant of the Lord since he completed his studies. Chakwera’s credentials speak volumes on what he has in store.
Millions view him as their only hope, a president-in-waiting prepared to uproot corruption and put to a complete halt all forms of tribalism, nepotism and regionalism, the ills hindering developmental progress 54 years since the country attained independence from the British colonial masters. He is also regarded as a leader whose vision will come to stay for the good of the present and the future.
The tide is on his side.