Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika ended his oath of office for a second five-year term with: “So help me God” after he narrowly won re-election with 38% of the votes in last week’s polls, while his closest challenger leader Lazarus Chakwera received 35%.
A Bible is traditionally used in administering the oath administered by the Chief Justice .
In a ceremony that took place at Kamuzu Stadium, Mutharika began his acceptance speech by declaring “I did not die!” to address persistent rumors ahead of the vote.
He added that “it is time to move on and develop the country.”
Mutharika took the oath at 14:37, saying: “I, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform the functions of the high office of President of the Republic of Malawi, and that I will preserve and defend the Constitution, and that I will do right to all manner of people according to law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. So help me God.”
First to take his oath of office was Chimulirenji as the country’s sixth VP after Justin Malewezi (two terms 1994-2004), Cassim Chilumpha (2004-2009), Joyce Banda (2009-2012), Khumbo Kachali (2012-2014) and Chilima (2014-2019).
Former president Bakili Muluzi, several judges of the High Court and Supreme Court, the clergy, traditional leaders and MEC commissioners also witnessed the occasion that lasted about 90 minutes.
Mutharika, a former law professor in the United States, campaigned for a second five-year term on a record of improving roads and power infrastructure in the impoverished southeast African country.
During his first term of office, inflation fell from 23% to below nine percent, but still just one in nine of the population have access to mains electricity.