Peter Mutharika

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Peter Mutharika
Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg
5th President of Malawi
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 May 2014
Vice President Saulos Chilima
Preceded by Joyce Banda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
8 September 2011 – 26 April 2012
Preceded by Etta Banda
Succeeded by Ephraim Chiume
Member of Parliament
for Thyolo East
In office
19 May 2009 – March 2014
Preceded by Bapu Khamisa
Succeeded by  ???
Personal details
Born 1940 (age 73–74)
Chisoka, Nyasaland
Political party United Democratic Front (Before 2004)
Democratic Progressive Party (2014–present)
Spouse(s) Christophine Mutharika (Deceased 1990)
Gertrude Maseko (2014–present)
Children Moyenda
Mahopela
Charlotte
Alma mater University of London
Yale University
Religion Presbyterianism

Arthur Peter Mutharika (born 1940) 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 on international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law.[1] 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.[2] He has also held positions as Minister of Justice and later as Minister for Education, Science and Technology.[2] Mutharika also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012. He was charged to help bridge relations between Malawi and the United Kingdom due to the deterioration of public diplomacy between the two nations after the Chocrane-Dyet controversy.[3]

Standing as the candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Peter Mutharika was elected as President of Malawi in the 2014 election.[4]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965.[5] He then received his LL.M and JSD degrees from Yale University[6] in 1966 and 1969 respectively.[6] 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[7] at Washington University (USA), and has served as an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics (UK).[1] He also served as advisor to the American Bar Association's Rule of Law initiative for Africa.[6] He was also the chair of the Institute for Democracy and Policy Studies.

Late career[edit]

He assisted as an advisor in the campaign for his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, for re-election as President in 2009.[2] In 1995 he argued for limiting presidential powers in Malawi.[2] He then entered Malawian politics where he became a Minister in a cabinet he helped to create.[2] 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.[2]

ICSID Arbitration Tribunal[edit]

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.[8] This was due to objections about his impartiality because of Bingu Mutharika's close associations with the Mugabe government.[8]

Political life[edit]

Mutharika with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd

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 Muharika to the Malawi Cabinet as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He is the current Minister of Education, Science and Technology in Malawi.[8] As of 8 September 2011, he was the Minister of foreign Affairs in the new "war cabinet".[3]

DPP Factions[edit]

In 2010, tensions rose over president Bingu wa Mutharika's plans to name Peter Mutharika, his brother, as the party successor over the sitting vice-president, Joyce Banda.[9] 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's Party (PP). Some people in DPP resigned over the dismissal of the Vice-President. In line with Malawi's laws, Joyce Banda still remained the country's Vice-President although she was fired from the DPP.[9]

DPP Presidential Endorsement[edit]

In August 2011, the DPP National Governing Council (NGC) endorsed Peter Mutharika as Presidential candidate for the 2014 elections.[10] This announcement came a few days after the 20 July 2011 protests where nationwide strikes were held against Bingu Mutharika's regime.[4] 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.[4] 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".[4] 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.[11]

US citizenship controversy[edit]

Peter Mutharika's candidacy for position as a government minister and his eligibility for presidency had been controversial because of speculation and doubt over his Malawian citizenship. A senior Political and Administrative lecturer at the University of Malawi, Mustapha Hussein has stated that his "eligibility should be viewed in the context of his being Malawian, he would be above 35 years of age by 2014, and he has not been convicted of any criminal activities for the past seven-year.".[12] Malawi's laws however, do not allow dual citizenship and it is widely speculated that he obtained US citizenship whilst living in the US and hence, had renounced his Malawian citizenship as is required by law. Nonetheless, the US embassy in Lilongwe confirmed that he is not a citizen but a Green card holder.[13] The ruling DPP has stated that Mutharika is a Malawian citizen and would run for president as a Malawian citizen and not an American one. There was controversy that, as the holder of a US Greencard, he owes an allegiance to the United States. Therefore, people on the street are of the view that a nation cannot be run by someone who will be spending the minimum of three months in the US annually required to retain permanent resident status.[14] In February 2014, he relinquished his green card and permanent resident status.[15]

Academic Freedom Stand-off[edit]

During Mutharika's tenure as Minister of Education, his leadership skills were tested over his handling of the academic freedom stand-off at the University of Malawi. University lecturer, Blessings Chinsinga, was questioned by the police chief, and later fired for comparing the economic conditions that lead to the Arab Spring events in Egypt to Malawi's economic grievances in an example. Faculty at the university stood in solidarity with the lecturer and went on strike in support for academic freedom. As a result, Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, Blessings Chinsinga, Garton Kanchedzera and Franz Amin were fired. This led to widespread university protests from students, and the shut down of the Chancellor College.[16] Handling of this issue became a national issue of debate. During the July, 20 2011 Malawi protests, a list of 20 points of discontent which lead to the demonstrations included handling of this stand-off as a key issue. The petition cited poor handling of the stand-off, including failure to secure academic freedom and reinstatement of lecturers as a major grievance. On 8 September, Mutharika was moved to Minister of Foreign Affairs.[16] The educational crisis has not been resolved. [16]

2012 constitutional crisis[edit]

When his brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika suffered a cardiac arrest on 5 April 2012, Peter Mutharika was allegedly involved in a 'constitutional coup' plan to prevent the succession of Joyce Banda as allowed by the constitution which lead to a 3-day constitutional crisis in Malawi.[17] He allegedly supported a measure that would allow him to become President of the country by bypassing the constitution.[18] He was allegedly appointed as President of the DPP and preparations were allegedly being made to swear him in as President through a secret meeting of cabinet members that included him. His alleged willingness to disregard the constitution of Malawi which he was heavily involved in the creation of, tainted his public reputation even further.[17]

2014 election[edit]

Peter Mutharika was elected as President in the 2014 election. He was sworn in as President on 31 May 2014.[19] Naming his cabinet in June 2014, Mutharika took charge of the defense portfolio himself. 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.[20]

As of June 2014, he supported diversification of Malawi's agriculture into other crops besides tobacco.[21]

Personal[edit]

Mutharika meeting Henry Bellingham of the British Foreign Office

He is the younger brother of Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi's third president. According to his profile published by the DPP, Mutharika is a widower. He was married to Christophine, a Catholic from the Caribbean with whom he has two daughters and a son.[22][23] In an exclusive with Malawi Voice, he denied being gay, saying that these were mere allegations concocted by his opponents.[24] He is a faithful of the Presbyterian Church.[25] On 21 June 2014, he married his partner Gertrude Maseko.[26]

Works[edit]

  • "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).

Awards[edit]

He is a recipient of the 2008 International Jurist Award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f http://law.wustl.edu/magazine/Spring2005/05mutharika.pdf
  3. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d "nationmw.net". nationmw.net. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ a b c Washington University in St. Louis | Law School
  7. ^ Lussenhop, Jessica (28 March 2013). "A. Peter Mutharika, Former Wash. U. Law Professor, Charged with Treason in Malawi [UPDATE] | Riverfront Times". Blogs.riverfronttimes.com. 
  8. ^ a b c Bhebhe, Vusimusi (8 July 2010). "Mutharika forced to quit Zim land trial". The Zimbabwean. 
  9. ^ a b "Malawi: a monarchy in the making? | Francis Chuma | Comment is free". guardian.co.uk. 
  10. ^ By (1 August 2011). "DPP fires Secretary General and endorses Peter Mutharika for 2014". www.malawitoday.com. 
  11. ^ REX CHIKOKO Nation Correspondent. "Family affair as Mutharika brother set to run in 2014 – Africa". nation.co.ke. 
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ "Peter Mutharika is not an American citizen: US Embassy". The Nation (Malawi). 
  14. ^ [5][dead link]
  15. ^ "DPP's Peter Mutharika dumps US Green Card". The Nation (Malawi). 7 February 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c [6][dead link]
  17. ^ a b MUCKRAKING XTRA: Peter Mutharika has failed himself | Malawi News[dead link]
  18. ^ "Exposed! Failed plot to swear Peter Mutharika at night | Nyasa Times Malawi breaking news in Malawi". Nyasatimes.com. 14 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Zawadi Chilunga, "'So help me God': Mutharika sworn in as Malawi President, Chilima VP", Nyasa Times, 31 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Malawi's president completes cabinet", AFP, 23 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Can Malawi end tobacco addiction?". BBC News. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  22. ^ Muheya, Green (4 April 2014). "Peter Mutharika touted cultured character as widower for 30-years". Nyasa Times. 
  23. ^ "Christophine G. Mutharika International Law Award". Washington University School of Law. 
  24. ^ "Peter finally speaks out on gay rumours". Malawi Voice. 26 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Mutharika Shuns National Prayers, Opts For Labourers". faceofmalawi.com. 1 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Mutharika weds partner in colourful ceremony". Independent Online (South Africa). 2014-06-21. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Etta Banda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Ephraim Chiume
Preceded by
Joyce Banda
President of Malawi
2014–present
Incumbent