Mutharika pledges robust leadership: To meet losers in Malawi presidential race

Malawi’s new President Peter Mutharika says he is considering to meet individual presidential candidates who participated in the presidential debate in the run up to the tripartite elections to discuss how best he could incorporate into his development agenda “some of best ideas” they presented during the debate.

Speaking during the first ever news conference as the President of the Republic of Malawi at his private residence in a leafy suburb of Nyambadwe in Blantyre township soon after taking an oath of office is at the High Court, on Saturday Mutharika said all the presidential candidates that participated in the debate presented brilliant ideas that would help to development the country.

Only outgoing president Joyce Banda did not participate in the presidential debates.

Presidential presser: Mutharika and his deputy Saulos Chilima addressing reporters in Blantyre
Presidential presser: Mutharika and his deputy Saulos Chilima addressing reporters in Blantyre

His statement was an extension of his earlier remarks when he urged the 11 other former presidential candidates to “join me in rebuilding the country” after some of them had contested the results

He told reporters: “It’s obvious we have been facing serious problems in this country that no single person can do it. This country is almost on the verge of collapse. Many sectors have stopped functioning for obvious reasons that I don’t want to go into details. But with your help and God’s help we will be able to do it.”

Mutharika declared that the new Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will ensure that it practices clean politics devoid of political hostility and vengeance.

“I promise peace and security to this country. Malawi is a beautiful country that has to be protected,” said the Head of State who is now new Commander-in-Chief of armed forces.

The 74-year-old law professor however said that he will ensure that the law is taking its course without fear or favour on those who will be acting against it.

On this point President Mutharika said his administration will ensure that those who were involved in the Cashgate scandal are brought to book.

On plans to form a new cabinet President Mutharika said he will meet the party’s top brass next week on the issue, repeating his campaign promise that he will choose 20 cabinet ministers.

Mutharika also said he will make sure that preparation for the national budget is being fast tracked.

On donor aid dependency Mutharika said it would be too early to say that Malawi can survive without donor aid “but what will be doing is just reducing the donor dependency whenever have enough resources to do so.”

Mutharika said he would continue maintaining relationships with Western donors while courting “new friends” such as China and Brazil.

“It’s inevitable, we will continue our relationship with donors who provide 40% of our recurrent budget,” he said.

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