Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika Inaugurated President

22 May 2009

Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika takes oath of office in Blantyre, 22 May 2009
Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika takes oath of office in Blantyre, 22 May 2009
Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika has been inaugurated for a second term following his landslide victory in the country's presidential poll. He also led his party to victory in the parliamentary election.

Mr. wa Mutharika took the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo in the presence of several African leaders and former president Bakili Muluzi, his one-time political friend who became his foe.

Mr. wa Mutharika was proclaimed the winner with 93 percent of the voting districts declared, and nearly two-thirds of the votes counted in the presidential poll. The announcement came from Electoral Commission chairwoman Anastacia Msosa.

"Therefore, declare Bingu otherwise known as Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika president of Democratic Progressive Party DPP, winner of the 2009 presidential elections," she said.

Mr. wa Mutharika also led his party to victory in the race for the parliament but the final allocation of seats will be announced when counting is fully complete.

Mr. wa Mutharika promised to continue with his popular agricultural subsidy program saying his aim is to make Malawi a hunger-free nation.

"In the next five years my administration will continue to prioritize agriculture and food security. We will remain committed in ensuring that our current food production levels increase further to sustain the country's food self-sufficiency," he said.

The president also promised to continue his fight against corruption which he said robs the poor.

"My stance remains unwavering. I shall continue to fight corruption because it is evil. Corruption in whatever form or shape is an enemy to growth and prosperity because it robs the poor, and denies their legitimate right to development," he promised.

The outcome of the election gives Mr. wa Mutharika and his party a clear mandate to govern and will likely end the crippling inertia in parliament which resulted when he split from his former party, the United Democratic Front. Mr. Muluzi, the leader of that party, has now promised to work with the new government.

Observer groups declared the result a true reflection of the will of Malawi's voters but have criticized campaign practices that tilted the playing field in the favor of the DPP. In particular observers have all cited the failure by the state media to provide equitable access to all candidates and parties.

Losing presidential candidate John Tembo of the Malawi Congress Party rejected the outcome of the poll, declaring there was widespread fraud.  He snubbed the inauguration and has said he intends to challenge the outcome in the courts.