‘So help me God’: Mutharika sworn in as Malawi President, Chilima VP

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Professor Pater Mutharika on Saturday morning was sworn in as President after winning a tightly contested election.

Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4% of the votes cast against former president Joyce Banda who was beaten into third place by Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who garnered 27.8% of the vote.

The President-elect was sworn in by the Chief Justice Anastansia Msosa at the High Court premises in the commercial capital Blantyre.

Ink a new chapter: President Peter Mutharika after being sworn-in
Ink a new chapter: President Peter Mutharika after being sworn-in

First to take oath was Vice President-elect Saulos Klaus Chilima.

President Mutharika’s oath had to be repeated as the Chief Justice explained: “We had to repeat because he has to hold the Bible.”

Mutharika said in taking oath: “I Professor Peter Mutharika, do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform the function of the high office of President of the republic of Malawi and 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.”

In his brief speech, President Mutharika said “it has been a long journey.”

He thanked “all Malawians for the confidence you have placed in me by electing me as your president.”

Mutharika also commended other 11 presidential contenders, saying the contest was “ robust and also gentlemanly.”

He invited all competitors to “join me in rebuilding this country” and extended that gesture to judiciary, media, and civil society.

Thousands of people flocked outside the heavily guarded court banging drums, beeping horns and dancing.

Mutharika, a law professor who spent most of his time abroad, actively entered Malawi politics in 2009 when he was elected to parliament and was appointed justice minister.

He later held other portfolios including education and foreign affairs.

The President-elect said he will not pursue trickle-down economics, but will implement “bottom-up economics aimed at getting the poor out of poverty into prosperity”.

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