BLANTYRE, MALAWI - President Peter Mutharika was sworn in for a second term Tuesday after beating six other candidates in the tightly contested presidential election.
There was jubilation and ululation from hundreds of people who trooped to Kamuzu Stadium, in Blantyre, to witness Mutharika and his vice president Everton Chimulirenji taking the oath from Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.
"I Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform, the functions of high office as president,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika, the leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), narrowly won the May 21 presidential election. The incumbent leader got 38.57% while his opponent, Lazarus Chakwera, leader of opposition Malawi Congress Party trailed with 35.41%.
Vice President Saulos Chilima of the opposition United Transformation Movement Party came third with 20.24%.
In his short acceptance speech Mutharika asked political leaders who contested the May elections to move forward.
"I also want to thank leaders of various political parties who competed with me in this election,” Mutharika said. “Most of them have accepted that there is only one winner at a time. So, it's now time to move on. The election is over; there is a time to fight, there is a time to unite."
A local radio station reported Tuesday that police dispersed Malawi Congress Party supporters who protested the official results. However, the party, which originally demanded a recount, has no further plans to challenge the vote tally.
The leader of the United Democratic Front, Atupele Muluzi, finished fourth in the presidential race. Muluzi told state media Tuesday that he is looking forward to Mutharika's leadership in the next five years.
"I hope that his government will be able to continue to make sure that he stabilizes the economy and provide quick wins especially jobs for young people and re-unify our beautiful country following such a challenging election,” Muluzi said.
Some Mutharika supporters said although the president has performed well in the past five years, they expect even more.
Jane Chiwamba is one of the Mutharika supporters.
She said she would like to see more rural technical colleges which Mutharika administration started establishing in rural areas, because these, Chiwamba said, will help empower youths to be self-reliant citizens.
The official inauguration ceremony for Mutharika is scheduled for Friday.