Peter Mutharika confirms candidature
By Wanangwa Chafulumira:
Blue hues. Buntings. Blinding flashes. Whooping horns. Wailing sirens. Waving hands. Smiling faces. Soaring balloons. Seismic roar. Arrival.
At 1.55pm Friday, President Peter Mutharika, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president, strolled into Chichiri International Conference Centre, widely known as Comesa Hall, in Blantyre amid grand show of pomp, circumstance and spectacular pageantry to present nomination papers to contest as presidential candidate in May 21 Tripartite Elections.
As expected in the electoral process, the week has been characterised by the usual drama, spectacle and affectation but the electric mood which later turned dreary at chock full Comesa was spiced up with Mutharika’s announcement that he has picked Minister of Civic education, Culture and Community Development and DPP Ntcheu North East Member of Parliament Everton Chimulilenji as his running mate.
Mec, among other conditions, asked Mutharika to publicly declare his intention to contest and scrutinised if he is above 35, a registered voter, has gathered enough signatories and has deposited K2 million recommended presidential fee with Mec bank account.
Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and a former attorney general, proceeded to sign and acknowledge receipt of the nomination papers by presenting Mutharika with a certificate.
Speaking after presenting his nomination papers, Mutharika, wearing a blue suit atoned with a white shirt and blue necktie, said he presented the papers to ensure Malawians that he will “continue leading this country from poverty to prosperity”.
“During this election, we will choose to take Malawi forward or take Malawi back. During this election, we will choose to build the country or destroy everything we have done. I will certainly take Malawi to new heights.
“Now we look forward to final years of improving the economy, businesses; five more years of creating a skilled Malawi, creating new companies, five more years of industrialising Malawi,” he said.
Mutharika then asked Malawians to remain united and vote wisely in the forthcoming polls.
Ansah applauded Mutharika for taking a bold move to contest in May 21 elections.
“Our hounarable candidate, elections are a completion which no-one participates with an expectation of losing. However, it remains a clear fact that only one person emerges winner at the end.
“The race sometimes can get intense and muddy. I urge you to confine yourself to a to a civilised campaign. Malawians are tired of mudslinging and foul-mouthed electioneering. For a change, they want this election to be issue-based. I would like to urge you, sir, to champion the cause for clean campaign,” she said.
She urged Mutharika and DPP to publicise and observe the Code of Conduct which provides guidelines of how to conduct campaign and some of the things which candidates or their followers should not do.
She assured the country Mec will manage the electoral process with fairness.
“We are independent and we will continue to remain so,” Ansah said.
The presentation of nomination papers by presidential candidates began Monday and ended yesterday with Damiano Ganiza (independent), who failed to meet some of Mec’s conditions according to Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act.
Malawi Congress Party torch bearer Lazarus Chakwera was the first presidential hopeful to present his papers.
According to Mec, 24 nomination papers were collected by hopefuls but only 10 submitted while three aspirants were deferred for failing to meet fulfill the requirements.
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