Malawi: Mutharika Calls for Peace and Unity

Blantyre — President Peter Mutharika has called on Malawians to put aside their differences as the country celebrates 55th Independence anniversary.

Addressing thousands that attended the celebrations at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday, the President said Malawi is the only country that is called home and hence people need to come together in national building.

"This is the day everyone must show how we love Malawi. Malawi is the only country we have. If we destroy this country, we have destroyed ourselves.

"We may have our differences but we are not enemies. There is no Malawian who must regard a fellow Malawian as an enemy," Mutharika said.

The president then condemned violence by some demonstrators in the election's aftermath saying they are only a set back to the country's economy as most businesses have been negatively affected.

Mutharika, therefore, called Malawians to respect the rule of law for the sake of peace in the country.

"The violence you see is calculated to turn Malawi into a lawless state. That is why they want to undermine every democratic institution that ensures law and order in the country.

"They want to create lawlessness so that they can take over this government. But they will only take this government over my dead body," Mutharika said.

He, therefore, warned the demonstrators that a day of reckoning is coming when they will face the arm of the law.

"Intimidating people who support government is unacceptable. Intimidating innocent business people is unacceptable. Intimidating our chiefs is unacceptable.

"And we, the people of Malawi, will hold them accountable. The law will take action," Mutharika said.

Mutharika's sentiments come after demonstrations that Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) organised in some parts of the country to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah to step down went violent.

The HRDC and demonstrators, that included leaders of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party, want Ansah to resign for alleged electoral irregularities that, they say, affected results of the May 21 general elections.

However, the demonstrations were marred by violent scenes of looting shops and burning private and public property to ashes, especially in the northern region.

In the May 21 Presidential polls, MEC declared Mutharika winner.

"For the past 55 years we have come to this event in celebration. This year, we have come with many people concerned. They are asking: Where is our country going to?

"They have a case in court. Why can't they wait for the court process? They are doing what they are doing because they know they know they lost the election. They lost the election big time," Mutharika said.

He, however, said the country will continue on the path to prosperity.

"Malawi will continue to move forward. This country belongs to us all," Mutharika said.

The celebrations were marked by a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) parade, traditional dances and a football match between Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets.

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