Blantyre, Malawi - The presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Malawi's 20 May elections, Prof. Peter Mutharika, has picked marketer Saulos Chilima as his running mate.
Chilima, 41, is the Managing Director of the mobile phone company Airtel Malawi.
'The elections this year I think they will be crucial for the future of this country, it will be a turning point for you're aware of the problems we are facing in this country,' said Mutharika, after presenting his nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairman Maxon Mbendera.
Mutharika becomes the first candidate to present nomination papers ahead of what is billed to be a closely-contested election since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Malawi in 1994.
Mbendera urged Mutharika to conduct a civilised campaign.
'It remains a clear fact that only one person emerges winner at the end. The race sometimes can get intense and muddy. I urge you to confine yourself to a civilised campaign. Malawians are tired of mud-slinging and foul-mouthed electioneering. For a change, they want this election to be issue-based,' he said.
The 75-year-old Mutharika will face the incumbent, President Joyce Banda, who succeeded his elder brother - Bingu wa Mutharika - after he succumbed to cardiac arrest in April 2012.
Other candidates include former President Bakili Muluzu's son, Austin Atupele Muluzi, and Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, who leads Malawi's oldest party, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).