African politician educated in Grand Rapids re-elected to Malawi Parliament

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A disabled African politician who graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids has been re-elected to a five-year term in the Malawi Parliament, where he will serve as second deputy speaker.

Clement Chiwaya, who attended college in Grand Rapids from 1998 to 2002, was re-elected in June, according to reports.

Chiwaya returned to Grand Rapids last spring to speak at the TEDx conference on May 7. His TED talk focused on highlighting the social stigma Africans attach to people with disabilities. Chiwaya, a polio survivor, uses a wheelchair.

Chiwaya credited his education and sponsors in Grand Rapids with helping him achieve the legislative position with the Malawian United Democratic Front party.

Disability advocates in Malawi hailed Chiwaya’s re-election.

“Our elections are not media-oriented,” Chiwaya told the media in May. “It’s more personal. You really have to go out and campaign.”

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