Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube
President Lazarus Chakwera opens 49th session of Malawi Parliament, September 4, 2020.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, a theologian and politician who became President of Malawi in June, says Malawi will establish a diplomatic mission with Israel in Jerusalem, according to a Friday report in Malawi 24.

According to President Chakwera, this is part of reforming his country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and its Missions abroad so that Malawi’s embassies are able to deliver on the ambitious objectives of promoting Malawi’s national interests globally.

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“The reforms will also include a review of our diplomatic presence, including our resolve to have new diplomatic missions in Lagos, Nigeria and Jerusalem, Israel. I will be sharing more details about this in the near future,” Chakwera said during his State of the Nation address.

Malawi does not have an embassy in Israel at this point, and Israel’s ambassador to Nairobi, Kenya, Noah Gal Gendler, doubles as ambassador to Malawi (also to Uganda, Tanzania, and the Seychelles).

Malawi and Israel established diplomatic relations with each other in July 1964. After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when many African countries suspended diplomatic relations with Israel under pressure from the Arab states, where oil, trade, Malawi remained one of only three Sub-Saharan African countries (the others being Lesotho and Swaziland) that continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel has assisted Malawi with a few social and economic development programs. David Bisnowaty, a former Israeli who now serves in Malawi’s parliament, told The Algemeiner in 2016: “Malawians love Jews and Israel. […] Malawi has always had very strong ties with Israel, even during the dictator’s era (1966 to 1994). Israel was the first country to send doctors and agricultural people to Malawi unconditionally.”

President Chakwera, who is also the defense minister, has been the leader of the Malawi Congress Party since 2013 and served as leader of the opposition in parliament following the highly controversial elections of May 2019 which were overturned by the Courts.

Chakwera was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 to 14 May 2013, He studied theology and gained an a master’s degree from the University of South Africa in 1991. The Trinity International University in the United States awarded him a doctorate in 2000. He became a professor at the Pan-Africa Theological Seminary in 2005.

Perhaps summing up best the new wave of recognition among the nations in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, Malawian church leader Zacc Kawalala welcomed the president’s announcement with the post: “New Diplomatic Mission in Jerusalem, Israel!!! (Psalm 122:6) Dancing all the way. #Praying4Malawi.”

And, in case you don’t know the book of Tehilim by heart, Psalms 122:6 says: “Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.”

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