Malawi President Peter Mutharika will be sworn in on Tuesday after a narrow win of last week’s election that saw him secure a second term in office.
Mutharika was declared winner of the presidential election that was marred by allegations of vote rigging and the swearing in ceremony is set to be held in the commercial capital Blantyre.
Mr. Mutharika who has been in power since 2014, won the hotly contested presidential race with 38.5% followed by opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera with 35% while former Vice President Saulos Chilima came third with 20% of the votes.
Mr. Mutharika is the leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) while first runner up Lazarus who is a former Christian Pastor and leader of opposition heads the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and former Vice President Saulos Chilima who came third in the race leads the United Transformation Movement (UTM).
Earlier before the Electoral Commission declared the winner, Mr. Chakwera and Mr. Chilima had gone to court in an attempt to block the announcement of the final results claiming that there were irregularities in some parts of the country.
However, the High Court led by Judge Charles Mkandawire lifted the injunction on Monday before the final results were announced. While announcing the results, court said that all the alleged irregularities can be probed after the announcement of the results.
Shortly after the announcement of Mr. Mutharika’s victory, there were some small protests that sparked off in opposition strongholds though the situation in the country remains generally calm
Mr. Maurice Munthali the publicity secretary of the MCP criticized the results saying that the were not a “genuine reflection of the will of the people of Malawi”.
“We will not sit down, but continue to fight so that the vote of Malawians should not be wasted,” he added.
Mr. Chakwera the leader of MCP also claimed that he was ahead in the votes according the results from his own party count before party spokesperson Eisenhower Mkaka said that they had turned to courts due to “very glaring irregularities” on the sheet results.
According to the observers from the European Union, the election campaign was “well-managed, inclusive, transparent and competitive”. However, the body said the tension ahead of the polling day was not helped by “various claims of rigging”.
UTM’s Chilima said that he was “surprised” at the result and he would continue to “seek justice together with all Malawians who feel aggrieved,” as he was congratulating the winners and added that his party will “continue to fight for the people of Malawi”.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that President Mutharika currently leads was founded by his elder brother Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004.
Mr. Mutharika, 78, started his first term in 2014 and he has been credited for his effort in lowering inflation and improving infrastructure, though he is criticized for failing to deal with corruption and his tendency to favor the rural areas where he has more support.
In addition to his failure to curb corruption in his first term in office, Mr. Mutharika has also been heavily criticized for a series of albino murders that have tainted the country’s image globally.
Mr. Mutharika has promised the people of Malawi a leaner cabinet and better infrastructure during his second term in office.