Malawi presidential inauguration starts in earnest

Malawi government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also department of public events is getting ready for this month’s presidential inauguration.

Malawi chooses a president next week Tuesday May 20.

A mong 12 people vying for Malawi’s highest office, four main candidates stand out. They are President Joyce Banda, 35-years old Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF), 74-year-old Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and of the ruling People’s Party (PP) and 59-year-old Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Malawi's Army Commander General Henry Odillo hands over the presidential sword to President Joyce Banda at her swearing in ceremony in 2012.
Malawi’s Army Commander General Henry Odillo hands over the presidential sword to President Joyce Banda at her swearing in ceremony in 2012.

Foreign Affairs Ministry has started already prepared to hosts some heads of state from the region and invitations are said to be dispatched this week.

Presidents of Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa are among those expected to grace the swearing-in of the elected Head of State to serve Malawi for a five-year term.

Results of the elections are expected to be announced by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) soon after counting the same next week.

Attorney General (AG) Anthony Kamanga told the press at weekend that the swearing-in ceremony of the President to be conducted by Chief Justice Anstansia Msosa at a public event will follow immediately after MEC has named the President elect.

Kamanga said had the National Assembly Malawi Electoral Commission endorsed the wishes of MEC, the swearing in of the next President would have waited for seven days after the announcement of the results

The Attorney General said Parliament did not consider the seven-day leeway which MEC sought to allow for a window within which to attend to queries.

Kamanga said as quoted by Weekend Nation: “The President may be sworn in at any time after the announcement of the results by MEC.”

A political accountability commentator Mavuto Bamusi condemned the practise of rushing to swear in a President-elect, saying it is “an indictment of democracy and the credibility of the result.”

Public opinion survey project AfroBarometer indicates the Malawi elections remains “too close to call” according to interviews of the 2,400 people from the expected 7 million voters.

However, other released polls clearly put President Banda on poll position to win the polls.

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