Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is a Malawian politician who has been the President of Malawi Congress Party, the main opposition party in Malawi, since 2013. He is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. He was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 to 14 May 2013

Twice defeated candidate in Malawi’s presidential election Reverend Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday launched legal proceedings seeking the annulment of last week’s vote won by incumbent Peter Mutharika on grounds of fraud.

2014 Elections

More than 5 million Malawians went to the polls on May 20, 2014 to vote for president, members of parliament and local government councilors. The election was the closest in Malawi’s history, and the outcome charts a new path for the country.

The unsurprising outcome

After more than a week of difficulties encountered by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in tallying votes, a series of court injunctions (and related stay orders), and an attempt to nullify the elections by the former president because of alleged vote-rigging and other irregularities, Peter Mutharika, brother to Malawi’s late president, Bingu WA Mutharika, was declared winner of the presidential election.

As expected, the presidential race was closely fought. Peter Mutharika received 36 percent of the popular vote. Coming in second was the Rev. Lazarus Chakwera, with 28 percent of the vote, followed by the incumbent, Joyce Banda, with 20 percent of the vote. Though other analysts picked President Banda to win, we were unconvinced she would benefit from an incumbency advantage and the handouts she gave to Malawians who attended her campaign rallies, especially given the “Cashgate” corruption scandal plaguing her.

Joyce Banda and her People’s party demanded a rerun, saying the entire process was subject to corruption, including the “buying” of local election officials and interference in the transfer of results. The MEC argued early on that it would not release unreliable results. It wanted to refrain from announcing any results on the eighth day, recount all 4m ballots, address the reported problems and announce a winner in 30 days.

The MCP leader, Lazarus Chakwera, agreed who was running a close second agreed with Joyce Banda. as now he declared himself winner before all issues besieging MEC were resolved.

Peter Mutharika was sworn in as President on the morning of 31 May 2014. Joyce Banda congratulated Mutharika and called for national unity, urging the people to support the new President and wishing him success. An inauguration ceremony for Mutharika was held in Blantyre on 2 June 2014.

President Joyce Banda was not present at the inauguration, held at Kamuzu Stadium, and her absence was viewed by some as a snub, given the history of bitter rivalry between the two. Mutharika said that he was offering an olive branch and wanted to “bury the past”, expressing “regret” at Banda’s absence. He said that he was not interested in “vengeance”, although he added that “those who have broken the law will face the full course of justice”

2019 Elections

Lazarus Chakwera who placed a close second in the presidential election said Friday he has petitioned the High Court to nullify the results, calling them “daylight robbery.”

Lazarus Chakwera was speaking to reporters while President Peter Mutharika in his inaugural speech urged the southern African nation to move on. The 78-year-old won a second term with 38% of the vote to Chakwera’s 35% in the May 21 election.

Lazarus Chakwera has implored his supporters to protest, alleging election irregularities. The court earlier in the week threw out an injunction he obtained to briefly stop the electoral commission from releasing final voting results. He had sought a recount in 10 of the country’s 28 districts but the commission said they had been checked at several stages.

Malawi duly Elected President Peter Mutharika in his speech said, “whether you voted for us or not, I am still your president” and that violence would only destroy the country. He has rejected accusations of corruption and the comment by Chakwera that his ruling Democratic Progressive Party government is a “mafia state.”

So which Election is the reverend protesting?

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