Lazarus Chakwera: Doing God's work in another capacity.

Chakwera's background is as interesting as his short political career, which started in May 2013. Born on 5 April 1953 in a small village on the outskirts of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, Chakwera was named Lazarus because his parents had lost two sons before him in infancy and his father, believing that this Lazarus would live, like his Biblical namesake who was raised up from the dead, gave him the name to show his faith in God.

Chakwera's educational background shows where his heart is. A BA (in philosophy) from the University of Malawi in 1977, was followed by three degrees in theology--first, an honours degree from the University of the North in South Africa, a master's degree (M.Th) from the University of South Africa in 1991, and a doctorate (D.Min) from the Trinity International University in the US in 2000.

Since graduating, he has worked as a professor at the Pan-Africa Theological Seminary, an instructor and later principal at the Assemblies of God School of Theology, and a lecturer and co-director at the All Nations Theological Seminary. In 1989, he became the president of the Assemblies of God Malawi and stayed in that position until August 2013, when he was elected as the leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the old party of the country's first president, Hastings Banda, who won independence from Britain on 6 July 1964.

Chakwera was the MCP Presidential candidate in 2014, and though he was beaten into second place by Peter Mutharika in what was largely seen as an election full of irregularities, he appealed for calm, asking his members to accept the result and wait for the 2019 elections instead.

By being a politician, Chakwera insists that he is still doing God's work in another capacity.

For this year's presidential elections, he teamed up with eight other parties in what they call a Tonse Alliance. This allowed the opposition vote to be consolidated, leading to victory over Mutharika. With his running mate, Saulos Chilima, Chakwera campaigned on a platform to transform Malawi into a middle-income country. His approach to governance, according to him, is premised on five core pillars: servant leadership, uniting Malawians, prospering together, the rule of law and judicial independence, and ending corruption.

A universal fertiliser subsidy to guarantee food security for all was another of his campaign promises. He also promised to create one million jobs within his first year by revamping industries to add value to...

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