Presidents from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) on Friday shunned President Peter Mutharika’s colourful inauguration held at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
However, the three neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique were represented by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Vitória Diogo, respectively.
The other countries that sent delegates were Zimbabwe, represented by one of the vice-presidents Kembo Mohadi, and E-swatini (formerly Swaziland), who had Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Clement Mabuza.
Presidents of the three neighbouring countries did not also attend Mutharika’s first-term inauguration on June 2 2014. Then, the Sadc bloc was represented by former Botswana president Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
However, all the three countries’ leaders—Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli, Edgar Lungu of Zambia and Mozambique’s Phillipe Nyusi—this year sent congratulatory messages to Mutharika who won the Presidency with 38.57 percent having amassed 1 940 709 votes against his main challenger Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Lazarus Chakwera, who got 1 781 740 votes.
Other leaders who sent goodwill messages to Mutharika were those of China, and Rwanda and Federal Republic of Germany.
In his speech during the event, Mutharika, who received a sword of honour from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Griffin Spoon Phiri to become Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, said he was set to open a new chapter of active presence in “our relations”.
“To our neighbours and friends in the region and across the world, we know that Malawi can only prosper with your goodwill as friends and neighbours. And your interests shall always be our interests,” he said.