List of heads of state of Malawi

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This is a list of the heads of state of Malawi, from the independence of Malawi in 1964 to the present day.

From 1964 to 1966 the head of state under the Malawi Independence Act 1964 was the Queen of Malawi, Elizabeth II, who was also the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen was represented in Malawi by a Governor-General. Malawi became a republic under the Constitution of 1966 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by an executive President.

Monarch (1964–1966)[edit]

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Portrait Monarch
Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Reign start Reign end Duration
1 Queen Elizabeth II 1959 (cropped).jpg Queen Elizabeth II
6 July 1964 6 July 1966 2 years Windsor Banda


The Governor-General was the representative of the monarch in Malawi and exercised most of the powers of the monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the monarch. After the passage of the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of Malawi without the involvement of the British government. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice served as Officer Administering the Government.

  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
Portrait Governor-General
Term of office Monarch Prime Minister
Took office Left office Time in office
1 No image.png Sir Glyn Jones
6 July 1964 6 July 1966 2 years Elizabeth II Banda

President of Malawi[edit]

Under the country's 1966, 1994 and 1995 constitutions, the President is executive head of state. The first President was elected by the National Assembly, but later presidents were elected in direct popular elections for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice-President becomes President.

  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
Portrait President
Elected Term of office Political party
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Dr HK Banda, first president of Malawi.jpg Hastings Banda
6 July 1966 24 May 1994 27 years, 322 days Malawi Congress Party
2 Muluzi.png Bakili Muluzi
24 May 1994 24 May 2004 10 years United Democratic Front
3 Mutharika at Met.jpg Bingu wa Mutharika
2004 24 May 2004 5 April 2012
(died in office.)
7 years, 317 days United Democratic Front
2009 Democratic Progressive Party[b]
4 Joyce Banda August 2012.jpg Joyce Banda
7 April 2012 31 May 2014 2 years, 54 days People's Party
5 Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg Peter Mutharika
31 May 2014 28 June 2020 6 years, 28 days Democratic Progressive Party
6 Lazarus Chakwera
2020 28 June 2020 Incumbent 44 days Malawi Congress Party


Living former heads of state[edit]

There are four living former Malawian heads of state:

Image Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II 1964–1966 Queen of Malawi (1926-04-21) 21 April 1926 (age 94)
Muluzi.png Bakili Muluzi 1994–2004 President of Malawi (1943-03-17) 17 March 1943 (age 77)
Joyce Banda August 2012.jpg Joyce Banda 2012–2014 President of Malawi (1950-04-12) 12 April 1950 (age 70)
Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014–2020 President of Malawi (1940-07-18) 18 July 1940 (age 80)


  1. ^ Served as President for Life from 6 July 1971 to February 1994.
  2. ^ Founded in 2005.

External links[edit]