Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera who is contesting the outcome of the May 21 presidential election in court shunned the swearing-in of President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday.
MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said Chakwera could attend the ceremony as the party maintains arguing that there had been serious irregularities during the counting of votes cast.
Apart from Chakwera, former vice president Saulos Chilima, who also lost in the presidential race when be came a distant third with about 20 percent of the total vote, did not attend the event as Everton Chimjulirenji succeded him.
Also conspiously absent was another presidential hopeful Atupele Muluzi, a former Cabinet minister, who came fourth with about 4 percent of the votes under the banner of his United Democratic Front (UDF).
Former president Joyce Banda, who backed Chakwera in the presidential race, was also no show as she was reportedly away in Portugal.
But former leader Bakili Muluzi, who governed Malawi from 1994 to 2004, attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Chakwera vows to fight on with the elections case after High Court judge Charles Mkandawire gave his party permission to commence judicial review.
He says there must be consequences for flouting electoral guidelines.
‘‘It’s an electoral system in which officers of the electoral commission can use Tipp-Ex (correction fluid) on results sheets from all over the country… and yet there are no consequences,”Chakwera said.
Chakwera polled 35.41%, falling short of president Peter Mutharika’s winning 38.57% by just 159,000 votes.
Saulos Chilima, who was Mutharika’s deputy during his first term, polled 20.24% having quit the ruling party to contest the presidential poll. He conceded defeat on Monday and wished his former boss a fruitful second term.
Mutharika campaigned for a second five-year term on a record of improving roads and power infrastructure in the impoverished southeast African country.