The United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday voiced optimism for Malawi whose new President Lazarus Chakwera, has vowed to root out corruption after winning a re-run election.
Pompeo noted that it was the first time that a candidate from an opposing party has won in Africa after an earlier election was invalidated over fraud.
“Truly a historic opportunity for the people of that country,” Pompeo told reporters.
Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, wrote on Twitter: “Congratulations to the people of Malawi! This election demonstrates the strength of your institutions and your commitment to democracy.”
Malawi went to the polls in May 2019, with incumbent Peter Mutharika declared the winner, but Chakwera, a former evangelical preacher, and vice president Saulos Chilima alleged irregularities.
The country’s top court agreed, ordering a fresh election last week in which Chakwera won almost 59 percent of the vote and his running mate Chilima maintains to stay as the country’s second-in-command.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, has said, Chakwera, should use his electoral victory as an opportunity to reset the country’s human rights record.
“President Chakwera should place respect for human rights and rule of law at the center of his new administration,” said Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The new president needs to put into action his own words that his victory at the polls is a victory for democracy and justice.”
Chakwera said in his inauguration speech that his victory “will fulfill the dream of a new Malawi that will be for everyone.”
Human Rights Watch said his administration should act to ensure that the rights of all, particularly marginalized communities, are fully respected.
Malawi faces a wide array of human rights challenges, including rising economic inequalities, poverty and recurrent food insecurity.
Since 2014, at least 150 crimes have been reported against people with albinism, including killings, abductions, grave exhumations, and threats.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation, the US aid agency that works with countries based on their records on good governance and human rights, had already told Malawi in December that it was eligible for a new deal.
The group in 2018 completed a $350 million compact with Malawi that focused on developing electricity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :