Malawi’s new president Dr Lazarus Chakwera called for national sacrifice to transform the country as he was inaugurated on Monday, completing a remarkable turnaround after losing last year’s election.
Chakwera, 65, comfortably beat Peter Mutharika with 58.5% of the vote, marking the first time in African history that an election re-run led to the defeat of an incumbent.
A triumphant Chakwera gave a rousing speech after receiving the sword of command from the army general Peter Namathanga in the capital Lilongwe on Monday.
“We must have the courage to face and endure the pain if we ever want to enjoy wholeness as a nation,” said Chakwera.
“We must each accept that in the context of Malawi’s recovery and transformation… We are each in some way part of Malawi’s problems and must each in some way be part of her solution.”
As part of a push to curb executive power, he committed to publish a declaration of assets every year as well as address parliament over his actions.
“Before we can begin to rebuild, we must clear the rubble of corruption,” he said, also singling out “laziness”, “donor dependency”, “unprofessionalism”, “incompetence” and the “impunity” of those in power.
Chakwera’s inauguration on Monday was attended by only 100 guests.
Chakwera cancelled planned independence day celebrations over the weekend and his inauguration ceremony was drastically scaled back following a spike in coronavirus infections.
The country has recorded 129 new infections on Monday, seven percent of its total of 1742 cases.