Malawi: Mutharika Calls for Opposition to Accept Defeat and Move On - Malawi Leader Urged to Have 'Inclusive Leadership'

Main opposition Malawi Congress Party presidential hopeful, Lazarus Chakwera.

President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday urged opposition parties to accept the outcome of an election and that there can only be one leader at a time, saying it is time to move on than spend time in courts challenging his re-election.

Mutharika waves to supporters at his swearing in ceremony at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.-Photo by Thoko Chilondi / AP)

Opposition led by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has sought for judicial review in court over allegations of electoral fraud.

But as he was sworn in for a second term, Mutharika said at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre it's time to move on as he was declared victor on Monday after an injunction barring the release of the results was lifted.

"I want to congratulate other leaders who competed with me in these elections. But they have to accept that there can only be one winner," Mutharika declared in a short speech.

"The elections are over. This is a time to unite and develop this country."

Mutharika won the ballot with 38.57% of the vote, against former evangelist Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on 35.41% - a gap of just 159 000 votes.

Turnout was 74% of 6.8 million registered voters.

Mutharika dismissed doubts over the outcome, saying international observers had deemed the May 21 election "peaceful, free and fair."

"It is the victory of the rule of law and the rule of democracy. Democracy has won," he said.

Meanwhile, Malawi's leading daily newspaper, privately owned The Nation newspaper in an editorial comment on Wednesday, urged Mutharika to work on uniting Malawians.

The paper said what Malawi wants is an "inclusive government" to respond to the wishes of the people.

"Mutharika must immediteley find a political way to reaching out to all the three regions and build bridges," reads the comment in part.

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