Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera at the Western Wall during a 2019 visit to Jerusalem. (Twitter) (Twitter)
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera

While the two nations have diplomatic relations, Malawi does not currently have an embassy in Israel.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Malawi will become the first African nation to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, the country’s Nyasa Times newspaper reported Saturday.

In his maiden State of the Nation address, President Lazarus Chakwera said, “Malawi will establish a diplomatic mission with Israel in Jerusalem,” the Times reported.

Chakwera won last June’s presidential election in the southeast African nation, whose predominantly Christian population of 19 million shares its borders with Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.

Chakwera said he wants Malawi embassies to be “able to deliver on the ambitious objectives of promoting Malawi’s national interests globally.”

Those objectives include opening a new diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, the president said, and he “will be sharing more details about this in the near future.”

While the two nations have diplomatic relations, Malawi does not currently have an embassy in Israel. Oded Joseph, Israel’s ambassador in Kenya, doubles as the envoy to Malawi from his office in Nairobi, 1450 kilometers north of the Malawi capital of Lilongwe.

Malawian church leader Zacc Kawalala welcomed the move, offering his thanks.

“New Diplomatic Mission in Jerusalem, Israel!!! (Psalm 122:6) Dancing all the way. #Praying4Malawi,” Kawalala tweeted.

Last November Chakwera made a three-day private visit to Jerusalem, “as he turned to God by embarking on prayer for victory over wickedness and for good leaders and truth to reign in Malawi,” the Times reported.

Chakwera tweeted pictures of himself in Jerusalem, saying, “I took a break from court and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Israel, where I spent some time praying for our beautiful country.”

In June 2019, Chakwera, who is the former head of Assemblies of God Church in Malawi, took upon himself a three-day “Esther fast”  to pray for “victory over wickedness and for good leaders and truth to reign in Malawi.” The Jewish Queen Esther of the Purim story refrained from eating and drinking for three days, praying for her nation’s survival.

Israel and Malawi established diplomatic relations in 1964. Earlier in August, Malawi Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka held a virtual meeting with Oded Joseph during which “centre stage of their discussion was how the two countries can restore their diplomatic relations,” the Malawi Foreign Ministry tweeted.

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