Malawi’s outgoing President Joyce Banda congratulated newly elected Republican President Prof. Peter Mutharika on his elections victory and urged Malawians to unite behind their new leader.
In a statement to the nation on Saturday, Banda conceding defeat, congratulated Mutharika for his “victory in a closely contested election” and said she was “leaving office a happy person,” according to a statement.
Banda urged the country to throw its weight behind Mutharika.
She said she wanted “to urge all Malawians to support the newly elected President Professor Mutharika and his Government as they take on this foundation of progress and endeavour to develop Malawi even further.”
Banda described the elections as “tense”, but added Malawians should move forward “as one nation, to remain united, to uphold the rule of law, and continue being peaceful and calm as we head into the next fifty years of Malawi’s future.”
Said Banda: “I would like to thank all Malawians for the support rendered to me and my government during my term in office as President of this great Republic. It has been an honor and privilege to serve my country, Malawi, and more so as the country’s first female president.”
Banda, the country’s first female president, came to power in 2012 after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, the elder brother of Peter Mutharika.
The defeated president said it is her prayer that President Mutharika and his Government “will successfully guide our nation to greater heights of prosperity”
The electoral commission said Friday that Mutharika took 36.4 percent of the votes cast against Banda’s 20.2 percent. She came third.
The results were announced minutes after the high court refused a last-ditch attempt to block their release and allow time for a recount.