“The time has come for us to go beyond dreaming.”
With those words, Lazarus Chakwera hopes to usher in a new era for the African nation.
As Malawi’s newest president, Chakwera signals hope for the people of Malawi and for Christians across the African continent.
President Chakwera, who was sworn into office in late June 2020, identifies himself as a “man of God.”
After Malawi’s much-disputed 2019 election—the results of which were annulled by the court system—Chakwera threw his hat in the ring and was embraced by the country’s large Christian population.
Chakwera’s leadership skills originated in the church. He led Malawi’s Assemblies of God for over 20 years, only leaving his role as pastor when he felt God’s firm call to politics.
“I had to argue with God over a direction in life that didn’t seem natural to me,” he admitted.
“God was saying that: ‘I’m extending your ministry so that you’re able to pastor a whole nation.’”
It was a thrilling thought for Chakwera, who then studied the Scriptures carefully to understand God’s design for leadership in the social and political realms of life.
Although he has no intention of turning Malawi into a theocracy, Chakwera understands the importance of Christian leadership for the protection and prosperity of every nation.
“The president believes that government is something that God subscribes to in nations in order to bring about order and progress in society, for the flourishing of human beings,” noted Sean Kampondeni, one of Chakwera’s advisors.
“In Malawi, he feels that the government institutions have been deliberately crippled over the last 25 years to not provide that service and he is there as someone who is offering [himself] to do that.”
Chakwera has spoken openly about his “dream” for Malawi, a dream “that binds us together…to enjoy shared prosperity, not just freedom.”
“We all must wake up because this is a time to arise from slumber and make our dream come true.”
But he went on to say, “The time has come for us to go beyond dreaming.”
Now that he’s been elected president, Chakwera is determined to lead Malawi—and surrounding nations—into a season of God-honoring action.
As Christians across the African continent are threatened by violent persecution and terrorist attacks, Chakwera is focused on protecting the vulnerable populations within Malawi’s borders.
“This new Malawi is a home for [everyone] and so long as I am its president, it will be a home in you too will prosper,” Chakwera told the nation.
So far, the president has worked hard to unite the many different factions across the nation.
“He’s got a huge task as the past regime was so openly tribalistic in its appointments of people and people felt sidelined, especially from the central and northern regions,” wrote one journalist.
“Christians dream for a better country and an improved leadership,” added Matilda Matabwa, secretary general of the Malawian Assemblies of God.
“We expect to see and experience the birth of a new nation, and are excited to have a highly respected man of God as the head of state.”
And now as the coronavirus pandemic stretches across Malawi and threatens to divide the nation further, Chakwera has turned to his faith to help unite his people.
The president recently called for three days of prayer and fasting, concluded with a national Day of Thanksgiving.
Chakwera asked people across Malawi to pray “for the healing of those affected by the virus; for the protection and support of frontline health workers in the struggle; for the protection and zeal of those who have not contracted the virus.”
Chakwera noted that people should also “be thanking God for the things he has done for Malawi during the past 12 months.”
The president’s proclamation was met with mixed reactions, as some Malawians tried to assert that “Malawi is a country, not a church,” but other citizens openly thanked President Chakwera for his faith-based leadership.
“Yes Malawi is a country and not a church. But within the country there are people who believe in the true God and the president is calling upon such people to join him in prayers.”
So far, President Chakwera has stood firm in his faith and his protection of Christian rights.
Please pray that his leadership will be effective in spreading the Gospel and protecting the Church across Malawi and the rest of Africa!