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I am President for all—Peter Mutharika

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By Serah Makodetsa:

 

President Peter Mutharika Friday called on Malawians to embrace him as their duly elected leader in the just-ended tripartite elections.

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The President, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, made the remarks during his inauguration ceremony at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

He said the elections were about choosing whether to build or destroy the country, arguing Malawians have chosen to build the country when they re-elected him in power.

“Let the voice of the people be heard and be respected. Whether you voted for me or not, I am your President. I am President for all Malawians,” he said.

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In his speech, Mutharika appealed to the country’s neighbouring nations to partner with Malawi for the development of the region.

“To our neighbouring countries in the region, let us open a new chapter. Malawi cannot prosper without your good will.

“I would also like to thank all the DPP supporters; my victory is your victory. And to you who have been newly elected and re-elected in various positions remember to be humble and serve our people. Let us make a difference in the lives of the people who have trusted us,” he said.

Thousands of people flocked Kamuzu Stadium beating drums, beeping horns and dancing.

Mutharika said it is time to develop the country and, as a party, which was already in power for the past five, they are ready to continue developing the nation.

“We will now take community colleges at constituency level. We have delivered more in five years than any other government has. We will modernise the country by constructing modern roads.

“We will increase funding for the social cash transfer programme and Malawi’s subsidy programme. And our vision is to make Malawi a producing and exporting country,” he said.

Mutharika, a law professor who spent most of his time abroad, actively entered Malawi politics in 2009 when he was elected to Parliament and was appointed Justice minister.

He later held other portfolios including Education and Foreign Affairs.

The President also called on for mindset change if the country is to develop.

“Nkhondo siyimanga mudzi [There is power in unity], we need to desist from being violent and avoid bloodshed. We all want to live in love, peace and unity. We should never wish another person hate. I know it is hard to remain calm when we are provoked but an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,” he said.

On Tuesday, during his swearing-in ceremony following victory during the May 21 polls, Mutharika called for unity if the country is to move forward.

Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent of votes cast, beating Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera who amassed 1,781,740 votes, representing 35.41 percent. UTM’s Saulos Chilima emerged third with 1,018,369 votes, translating into 20.24 percent of votes counted.

The President is an author, educator, lawyer, adviser and consultant.

He has an experience in international justice being an expert in international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law.

Mutharika is 79 years old and has two daughters.

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