THE INAUGURAL SPEECH delivered by His Excellency Professor Peter Arthur Mutharika Upon his re-election as President of the Republic of Malawi
Blantyre, 31 May 2019
This Election was about whether we choose to build or destroy our country. We have made a choice to take Malawi forward.
The people have spoken. Let the voice of the people prevail.
Fellow Malawians, this Election is gone. But we have a country to develop. And we have work to do ahead of us!
Let us all remember – that we have more that unites us than anything that divides us.
Whether you voted at all or not voted. Whether you voted for us or not for us. I am your President. I am the President of all Malawians. And Malawi is our country.
We have a perfect union in national building. Let us unite in to develop this country.
To our neighbours and friends in the region and across the world. We are set to open a new chapter of active presence in our relations.
We know that Malawi can only prosper with your goodwill as friends and neighbours. And your interests shall always be our interests.
To the members of the Democratic Progressive Party who gave us this decisive victory, I say thank you. My victory is your victory. And your needs and aspirations shall always be my goals.
Let us remember – that we are chosen to govern this country on trust. Let us remember to be humble, respectful and dedicated in serving the people.
Let us always remember that we are in government to serve the people. And there are many Malawians who voted for us, not because they are DPP, but because they believe we can make a difference in their lives.
Let us make a difference in the life of every Malawian.
Whether it is an old woman of Nthalire, the school girl in Chintheche; whether it is a farmer in Mchinji or a fisherman in Mangochi; whether it is the grocery owner of Lobi or the Kabaza operator of Machinga; whether it is the minibus operator of Blantyre or the teacher in Nsanje – these are the ordinary people that we come to serve. It is our duty as Government to make a difference in their lives.
Remember, people are the reason why governments exist. And the goal of every government is to make people happy in the end.
And remember the reason why DPP exists is to develop this country. Malawi Congress Party came to end colonialism. The United Democratic Front came to bring democracy. And the Democratic Progressive Party came with a mission to develop this country.
We cannot deny our history. Each political party played a fundamental role in the history of this nation. Now it is our call to develop this country. Let us remain focused on development and changing lives for the better.
As a party, we chose to be democratic and progressive because we believe in democratic values and taking Malawi from poverty to prosperity. As we say in our local language – nkhondo simanga mudzi. We cannot build this country with violence and bloodshed.
It is because we are democratic and progressive that I have always urged all Malawians to wish one another love, peace and unity. We all want to live in peace, love and unity. We should never, never wish another human hate and violence because we were created to love others as we love ourselves.
I want to thank all members of the Democratic Progressive Party for responding with extreme restraint when we are provoked and attacked.
We have chosen not to revenge because we know violence for violence will only destroy this country. An eye for an eye will only make the world blind.
I know how painful it feels to remain calm while hate and violence attack you. I know how painful it feels to remain calm and watch while others call you names.
But I also know how proud it feels to withstand temptations of evil and stand up to your principles. I know how good it feels to be victorious in the end.
And I know, how painful, trying and tempting the last few days have been.
In the past few days, we have seen what we the democratic progressive people of Malawi reject. We have seen shocking terror, violence and political intimidation.
We have seen Pilirani Mzunga, an innocent woman of Machinjiri being beaten to silence simply because she is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party.
We have known of women being beaten, stripped naked and paraded to walk naked for their liberty of conscience. But this time, no gender activist, no human rights defender, no one speaks for their dignity and suffering because they are members of the DPP.
We have seen Hellen Buluma, a Member of Parliament candidate beaten to faint and left for dead just because she spoke justice in the presence of evil. And yet, the so-called HRD remained silent, simply because she is a member of the DPP.
We have seen a former Cabinet Minister, Nicholas Dausi beaten in public just because he stepped out to speak truth against lies. No human rights defender spoke, because he is DPP.
Cars of innocent travelers have been burnt. Houses burnt. People chased from their own homes. And there are many innocent Malawians beaten, brutalized and victimized for their political beliefs. That is not the Malawi we want.
To those who brutalize and victimize innocent Malawians, we say: we will fight your hate with love. We will fight your lawlessness with the Law.
Those waging political terror upon the people fight the people. They fight the laws of this country will be applied. And the Law will fight for the people because we are a country governed by laws.
When you call for violence, brutalization and victimization of innocent citizens, we will call for love, peace and unity. We will call for love, peace and unity because that is the Malawi we want.
Ladies and Gentlemen
In the next five years, let us unite to focus on creating the Malawi we want. These are some of the key promises of our manifesto. This is the Manifesto of the people we started implementing five years ago.
In the last five years, we laid foundations for high and broad-based economic growth. We fixed a broken economy, started job creation and created a productive environment for businesses.
We aggressively launched skills development for the Youth. We started empowering Youth with industrial skills. That is why we are establishing community technical colleges. Industrial skills enable the Youth to create their own jobs and businesses.
We have delivered unprecedented infrastructure development in the last five years. We have delivered more in five years than any government has ever done in the history of this country.
We have started modernizing Malawi with new roads in every part of the country. Let us make Malawi beautiful.
We have ably delivered development to the people of Malawi in the last five y ears. And we will deliver more than expected in the next five years.
In the next five years, we will prioritise production. Our problem has always been power shortage. Now we are resolving power shortage decisively. We are saying farewell to blackouts forever.
In prioritizing production, we make three cardinal gains for the Youth, namely:
1. Creating jobs
2. Creating jobs, and
3. Creating jobs
We have generated growth of the private sector by improving economic conditions that favour business. New businesses create jobs.
While we pursue foreign direct investment program, we are determined to promote local businesses to grow more than ever. We will enforce the law ensuring that sixty percent of Government procurement should go to local investors.
We will empower home grown businesses by giving them tax breaks and removing burdensome regulations.
We will empower the Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Corporation to finance local industries and provide affordable loans to our farmers. Financing our local businesses will create more businesses, more jobs.
We will see dramatic ease in the cost of doing business and other incentives that will facilitate private sector growth.
The growth of the private sector begins with the growth of the farmers, vendors and family businesses.
This is a business approach Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The question is: what kind of Malawi do we want? We must all agree on the Malawi we want if we are to pursue that as a common goal.
Let us agree that our first problem is our mindset. We must undertake a serious soul-searching to redefine our mindset.
A negative mindset is like a flat tyre. You can’t go anywhere until you change it. In the next five years, we will establish a special program on mindset education to engage the nation beginning from the age of thirteen.
We always need to ask ourselves if we do the right things, for the right motives, in the right manner. We cannot prosper with a negative mindset. This is the hallmark of integrity and patriotism.
Let us agree on the Malawi we want. Let us agree – we want a Malawi with a growing economy that makes life better for everyone. This is what we pledge in our manifesto.
We want a hunger-free Malawi where everyone has enough food. We want a Malawi where nobody dies of hunger. This is the Malawi we began five years ago.
We want a healthy Malawi where healthcare is better and closer for everyone. This is our manifesto commitment for the next five years.
We want an educated Malawi where every child gets good education. Every child who finishes primary school must go to secondary school. Secondary education becomes basic education in Malawi.
We want an industrialised Malawi where the Youth and women have industrial skills for creating new jobs. In the next five years, we will begin establishing community colleges at constituency levels. We want the Youth to be skilled and be self-dependent. Thus, we are teaching the Youth how to fish instead of giving them fish.
We want a progressing Malawi with modern roads, piped water, cities without dust, rural electricity, affordable access to internet and new infrastructure everywhere. This is what we have been doing.
We want a better Malawi where people can build new houses, buy more cars and afford a new life.
We want a corrupt-free Malawi where our public resources continue to build roads, community technical colleges and buy drugs for the people.
We want a secure and peaceful Malawi. We will continue to provide personal security, financial security and the security of our borders, with modern facilities better than ever.
More aggressively than ever, we will provide social security for the poor and vulnerable people. We will increase funding to social cash transfer, public works program, malata and cement subsidy.
Above all, we will make fertilizer and seeds more affordable for poor Malawians.
We will also intensify the culture of saving in the village savings and loans cooperatives known as bank mkhonde. Let us be a people with a saving and investing mindset.
This is the Malawi we want. This is the Malawi we began to build five years ago.
The next five years, we will build this nation on the foundations we set in the last five years. We have begun a journey from poverty to prosperity.
Our ultimate goal is to reduce poverty of the people. Malawi is not a poor country. But the people are poor. We must create new wealth for everyone.
In order to create new wealth for every Malawian, our vision is to make Malawi a producing and exporting country.
A producing and exporting economy will also make Malawi a self-dependent country. And we all want Malawi to be a self-dependent country.
Therefore, we need to generate a vibrant growing economy that benefits everyone. We need to make Malawi a job creating economy.
In order to make Malawi a producing and job creating economy, we need five conditions:
A growing economy with low inflation and low interest rates;
A growing private sector in a productive environment;
A skilled labour society driven by a value system of discipline, hard work and integrity;
Modern infrastructure that reduces the cost of production with ease of access to markets;
A disciplined public service system that functions with efficiency in serving Government and the private sector.
Let me emphasize discipline in the public service. The honey moon of the last five years is over. I want to see strong discipline mechanisms and a tough enforcement of public service regulations.
Let me say this to every civil servant. You have the right to political belonging. But you have no right to frustrate or sabotage Government business in the name of your political party as you did before. If you do that, I will fire you all!
If you belong to the DPP, you have no right to think that you are above the law or to be defiant to your superiors in the name of the party. We will count it as indiscipline and we will fire you!
Let us separate government business from politics.
Let us also reflect on the relationship between the church and state. There have been times in human history when the state violated the rights of the church.
Today, sometimes, it is the church over-exercising its freedom to persecute political leaders. Let us respect one another’s authority. No church must sponsor a candidate.
To the Church, let me repeat what I have always said. Let us remember our dedicated place between Man and God. Let us remember to be agents of reconciliation. Let us remember to be agents of peace – the precious peace Jesus Christ left us when he said, “Peace I live with you”
To all those of goodwill, you can count on me. I will always champion ecumenical relations among all faith groups. And I will always promote an orderly relationship between political and ecclesiastical authority.
I believe in the authority of God over the Church and the State. In the end, let us dedicate our nation to God who gave us this country.
I will always promote equality amongst all denominations. No denomination is better than the other one. We are all equal before God.
We have a long way ahead. We need to walk together on our path to the Malawi we want. We have a dedicated duty before us.
So, help us God.
Grant us the courage to make the right decisions;
The faith to believe in our country;
And the patience to walk the path of our destiny.
May God Bless You All
And God Bless Malawi