Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika made a last-ditch bid to win re-election on Saturday as candidates for next week’s hotly contested election wrapped up their campaigns at rival rallies across the country.
Former law professor Mutharika, 78, is trying to secure a second five-year term in Malawi, a southern African country heavily dependent on foreign aid which has experienced severe droughts in the past decade.
Addressing thousands of supporters in his stronghold in Blantyre, the nation’s commercial capital, Mutharika highlighted the country’s relative economic stability during his government and said he wanted to win “without trickery and in peace”.
“I found a broken economy. And I have fixed it,” he told the crowd, many of whom were dressed in traditional bright blue clothing emblazoned with the symbol of his Democratic Progressive Party.
While there are no reliable opinion polls to forecast the outcome of Tuesday’s election, analysts expect a tight race between Mutharika and two leading opposition candidates — Deputy President Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera, who heads the second-largest party in parliament.
“I’m confident we’re winning this on Tuesday,” said Doris Dika, a Mutharika supporter who sells clothes and shoes in Blantyre and attended Saturday’s rally.