The day of the week seemed fitting as Pastor Lazarus Chakwera, the former president of the Malawi Assemblies of God, one of the largest Christian denominations in the country, treated the stage like a pulpit to inspire fervour with his words, after he was elected the President of Malawi.
“President Chakwera said, ‘My victory is a win for democracy and justice.’ Will you join me in praying that God will bless, direct, and protect this man as he leads his country?” Graham asked.
The 65-year-old Malawian entered politics in 2013 without any previous experience and was the leader of the Malawi Congress Party, according to the BBC. His career in public service follows 24 years of leading the Assemblies of God denomination in the landlocked country in southeastern Africa. The Assemblies of God is one of the largest religious groups in that nation.
Evangelist Franklin Graham lauded the election of the former pastor and Assemblies of God President Lazarus Chakwera as the new president of the Subsaharan African nation of Malawi.
Writing on his Facebook page, Graham congratulated the new president, saying that he did a great job chairing a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association outreach in 2010 called My Hope Malawi.
Chakwera came to the job after leading the Assemblies of God for 24 years, but admitted, when he was first running for president in 2014, that making the decision to become a politician was not easy.
“I had to argue with God over a direction in life that didn’t seem natural to me,” he said in a video published by St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in California.
But after a lot of discussion “God was saying that: ‘I’m extending your ministry so that you’re able to pastor a whole nation’”
In another interview, in 2017, he said that in the conversations with God he turned to chapter three of the book of Exodus in the Bible, in which God appears to Moses and says he should lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
This showed him how a leader can address both the spiritual and the social needs of the people, his adviser Sean Kampondeni told the BBC.
But he does not want to turn Malawi into a theocracy and neither does he want to proselytise, he added.
When he won the election on June 27 he tweeted: “Thank you, my Lord Jesus.”
In his inaugural speech on Sunday, Chakwera pledged a government “that serves not… rules; a government that inspires not infuriates”.
“A government that listens not a government that shouts, a government that fights for you and not against you,” he said after he was sworn in.