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Malawi to Install New President Mutharika Monday

FILE - A November 14, 2013 photo outside Lilongwe's High Court shows Malawi's Democratic Progressive Party President and winner of the presidential election Peter Mutharika (C), as he waves to his supporters.
Several African heads of state and government plan to participate in the official inauguration of Malawi’s newly elected president, Peter Mutharika, at the Kamuzu Banda stadium in the country’s commercial capital, Blantyre, on Monday.

Mutharika becomes the country’s fourth president since the country gained independence from former colonial power Britain. A former foreign minister under elder brother and late president Bingu Wa Mutharika’s administration, Mutharika was elected president following a highly contested presidential vote defeating two opponent’s including former president Joyce Banda.

Nicholas Dausi, a spokesman for the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) says, “There would be a military parade followed by the handing over of the sword of honor, and then finally there shall be traditional dances, people celebrating that finally Malawi has a new president in the name of His Excellency President Professor Peter Mutharika who will inspect a presidential guard of honor."

Mutharika promised a Cabinet of technocrats during his campaign for last month’s tripartite elections. Dausi says the newly elected leader will announce members of his Cabinet this week after the inauguration.

“I hope and believe that indeed it will be a Cabinet of technocrats,” said Dausi. “We want to move away from a period of mediocrity to a period of meritocracy, and that would soon be announced soon after the inauguration.”

Mutharika and former colleague ministers still face treason charges after they were accused of plotting a constitutional coup by trying to prevent then vice president Joyce Banda from being installed as president following the sudden death of Bingu Wa Mutharika. But Dausi says he hopes the charges will die a natural death.

“That was political persecution of the highest order, and I hope the treason case falls away automatically that the court will rule to discontinue the case, and I hope there would be reparations for the persecution that we have endured,” said Dausi. “We hope that it will close that chapter where there was quite an orchestrated and concerted effort to erase the DPP by arresting, [and] threatening members of DPP through flimsy charges.”

Some analysts have expressed concern the newly elected leader could go after his political opponents including former president Banda.

But the DPP spokesman says it is unlikely the newly elected leader will persecute his opponents after he promised to unite the country to build a better nation.

“The president has also said he is not going to be vengeful, no retribution,” said Dausi. “We want all Malawi people regardless of diversity of opinions regardless of political parties we must come together as a people, as a nation to develop the country.”

“There shall be no dismissal civil servants or government officials on the point of political affiliation,” said Dausi.
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