Malawi president Mutharika calls for unity after divisive election

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Peter Mutharika President of Malawi speaks on September 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity)
FILE PHOTO: Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, speaks at a past event. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity)

Malawian President Peter Mutharika urged citizens to come together and help advance the country’s development agenda in his speech during his inauguration at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Tuesday.

“It is time to move on. There is a time to fight. There is a time to unite, to unite and develop this country,”Mutharika said.

Mutharika also reaffirmed his pre-election campaign promise of clean governance and economic revival.

78-year-old Mutharika had recently faced accusations of corruption and favoring rural areas where he has most political support.

Corruption and the need for economic growth had been the main election issues in Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries.

Incumbent Malawian President Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of the tightly contested presidential election on Monday while the opposition political parties claimed there were irregularities in the election.

Mutharika won with 38.57 percent of the votes against his closest rival Lazarus Chakwera, the country’s main opposition leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who gained 35.41 percent of the votes.

The opposition political parties had raised complaints ranging from the number of registered in some polling stations and the number of votes cast not tallying, the use of correction fluid to change results and the issue of some presiding officers going away with result sheets.

These developments saw Malawi’s high court issue an injunction last week blocking the electoral commission from announcing presidential results until a partial recount was done.

The injunction was subsequently lifted on Monday.

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