Malawian President Peter Mutharika, made a final plea to voters on Saturday, promising to develop the country “beyond recognition” if he wins next week’s election.
Mutharika, who came to power in 2014, could face a tough battle to hold onto office in Tuesday’s election, after his presidency was damaged by corruption allegations.
“We have set Malawi on the path of progress. The opposition have nothing to criticise me on,” he told several thousand cheering supporters in Blantyre at his final campaign rally.
“My priorities for this country are development and building skills. When you give me a chance for another five years, I will develop this country beyond recognition”.
“I can assure you that we will get to the level of Singapore and Malaysia.”
Mutharika, who said he was taking only 40 percent of his salary to help the economy, pledged to construct more schools and factories in Malawi — a largely agricultural country that is one of the poorest in the world.
“We will continue to build the economy so that we eradicate poverty,” he said.
Mutharika also pledged to provide secure accommodation for albinos, who have been killed or mutilated for their body parts in the belief that they contain magical powers.
In a surge of attacks, 163 cases have been reported since November 2014, including 22 murders, Amnesty International said this month.
Mutharika, 78, who has denied rumours of ill health, was greeted by supporters chanting “We all knew our father was alive!”
“He should win again so that we continue living in peace and he should continue with his mission,” said businesswoman Flora Malewa.
Opposition candidates wrap up campaigns
Malawi’s opposition candidates made a last-ditch bid on Saturday (May 18) as candidates for next week’s hotly contested election wrapped up their campaigns at rival rallies across the country.
Analysts expect a tight race on Tuesday, May 21 between President Peter Mutharika and two leading opposition candidates — Lazarus Chakwera, who heads the second-largest party in parliament and Deputy President Saulos Chilima.
Pastor Lazarus Chakwera, 64, who leads the Malawi Congress Party, the second-largest party in parliament, has made corruption-fighting a key campaign message.
On the outskirts of Lilongwe, Mutharika’s former ally-turned-foe Chilima told supporters the president was corrupt and should not be allowed to contest.
Former law professor Mutharika, 78, is trying to secure a second five-year term in Malawi, a southern African country which has experienced severe droughts in the past decade. Voters will also elect a new parliament and local government councillors.
Author: Staff Writer