Profile of the President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency the State President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika
His Excellency Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika was born in 1940. He is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014.
Mutharika has worked in the area of international justice internationally. He is an expert at international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law.
He informally served as an adviser to his older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on issues of foreign and domestic policy from the onset of his election campaign until the President’s death on 5 April 2012. He has also held positions as Minister of Justice and later as Minister for Education, Science and Technology.
Mutharika also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012. He was charged to help bridge relations between Malawi and the UK due to the deterioration of public diplomacy between the two nations after the Cochrane-Dyet controversy.
Standing as the candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Peter Mutharika was elected as President of Malawi in the 2014 election.
Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965. He then received his LL.M and JSD degrees from Yale University in 1966 and 1969 respectively.
As a professor, he has taught at University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Haile Selassie University (Ethiopia), Rutgers University (USA), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Program for Foreign Service Officers from Africa and Asia at Makerere University (Uganda), and for 39 years at Washington University (USA), and has served as an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics (UK). He also served as advisor to the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law initiative for Africa. He was also the chair of the Institute for Democracy and Policy Studies.
He assisted as an advisor in the campaign for his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, for re-election as President in 2009. In 1995 he argued for limiting presidential powers in Malawi. He then entered Malawian politics where he became a Minister in a cabinet he helped to create. He also continued to serve as an adviser to the President until the President’s death in 2012 in issues of foreign and domestic policy.
ICSID Arbitration Tribunal
Mutharika was part of a three-man tribunal that was arbitrating international cases. In August 2011, Mutharika was forced to resign from two international court cases with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes that he was arbitrating on Zimbabwe where foreign investors are suing the Zimbabwean government for breaches of bilateral investment treaties. This was due to objections about his impartiality because of Bingu Mutharika’s close associations with the Mugabe government.
He is a member of the DPP party in Malawi. In May 2009, he was elected to the Malawian Parliament, and he was subsequently appointed by his brother Bingu wa Mutharika to the Malawi Cabinet as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He is the current Minister of Education, Science and Technology in Malawi. As of 8 September 2011, he was the Minister of foreign Affairs in the new “war cabinet”.
Tensions have arisen over the president’s plans to name Peter Mutharika as the party successor over the sitting vice-president, Joyce Banda. A female member of parliament, Anita Kalinde, was assaulted, in public, by Mutharika’s supporters for supporting Vice-President Banda but no arrests were made. The Vice-President was later fired from the DPP and launched her party, the People Party PP.
Some people in DPP have resigned over the dismissal of the Vice-President. According to the Malawi Laws, Joyce Banda still remains the country’s Vice-President although she was fired from the DPP.
DPP Presidential Endorsement
In August 2011, the DPP National Governing Council (NGC) endorsed Peter Mutharika as Presidential candidate for the 2014 elections. This announcement came a few days after the 20 July 2011 protests where nationwide strikes were held against Bingu Mutharika’s regime.
His appointment decision was made by President Bingu Mutharika and endorsed by the DPP NGC since the party did not hold a convention to elect new leaders.
The Secretary General, Wakuda Kamanga stated that the decision was made in spite of the protests because the party believed that the “anger would fade”. This endorsement also led to the firing of those that were against the nomination
process within the party including first vice-president Joyce Banda and second vice-president Khumbo Kachali. The national radio station and television have been endorsing Peter Mutharika since early this year as a candidate.
Peter Mutharika was elected as President in the 2014 election. He was sworn in as President on 31 May 2014. Naming his cabinet in June 2014, Mutharika took charge of the defense portfolio himself and kept his campaign promise to appoint a lean cabinet.
He appointed the veteran economist Goodall Gondwe as Minister of Finance and appointed one of the defeated presidential candidates, Atupele Muluzi, as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in a cabinet of only 20 ministers, including himself and his vice Saulos Chilima.
As of June 2014, he supported diversification of Malawi’s agriculture into other crops besides tobacco.
He is the younger brother of the late Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s third president. Mutharika is a widower. He was married to Christophine, a Catholic from the Caribbean with whom he has two daughters and a son. On June 21 he married Gertrude Maseko at a colourful church and traditional ceremony at St Michael and All Angels and at Ndata Farm, respectively.
In an exclusive with Malawi Voice, he denied being gay, saying that these were mere allegations concocted by his opponents. He is a faithful of the Presbyterian Church. On 21 June 2014, he married his partner Gertrude Maseko.
“Foreign Investment Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Emerging Policy and Legal Frameworks” (book)
“Accountability for Political Abuses in Pre-Democratic Malawi: The Primacy of Truth” – Third World Legal Studies, 2003.
“Approaches to Restorative Justice in Malawi”, 13th Commonwealth Law Conference, Melbourne, Australia, April 2003.
“Legal System of Malawi”, 3 Legal Systems of the World 949 (2002)
“Some Thoughts on Rebuilding African State Capability,” 76 Washington University Law Quarterly 281 (1998)
“Creating an Attractive Investment Climate in the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Region,” 12 Foreign Investment Law Journal 1 (1997)
“The Role of the United Nations Security Council in African Peace Management: Some Proposals,” 17 Michigan Journal of International Law 537 (1996)
“The 1995 Democratic Constitution of Malawi,” 40 Journal of African Law 205 (1996)
“The Role of International Law in the Twenty-First Century: An African Perspective,” 18 Fordham International Law Journal 1706 (1995) and reprinted in 21 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 601 (1995).