Peter Mutharika

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Peter Mutharika
Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg
President of Malawi
Assumed office
31 May 2014
Vice PresidentSaulos Chilima
Preceded byJoyce Banda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
8 September 2011 – 26 April 2012
PresidentBingu wa Mutharika
Preceded byEtta Banda
Succeeded byEphraim Chiume
Member of Parliament
for Thyolo East
In office
19 May 2009 – March 2014
Preceded byBapu Khamisa
Succeeded byGerson Timothy Solomoni
Personal details
Born (1940-07-18) 18 July 1940 (age 78)
Chisoka, Thyolo, Malawi
Political partyDPP (2004–present)
UDF (before 2004)
Spouse(s)Christophine (d. 1990)
Gertrude Maseko (m. 2014)
RelationsBingu wa Mutharika (brother)
Alma materUniversity of London (LL.B)
Yale University (LL.M), (J.S.D./PhD)
AwardsInternational Jurist Award

Arthur Peter Mutharika (/mˈtɑːrɪkə/[citation needed]; born 18 July 1940)[1][2][3] is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. Mutharika has worked globally in the field of international justice. He is an expert on international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law.[4] 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.[5]

He has also held positions as Minister of Justice and later as Minister for Education, Science and Technology.[5] 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 Cochrane-Dyet controversy.[6] Standing as the candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Peter Mutharika was elected as President of Malawi in the 2014 election.[7]


Early career[edit]

Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965.[8] He then received his LL.M and JSD/PhD degrees from Yale University[9] in 1966 and 1969 respectively.[9] 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 37 years[10] at Washington University (USA), and has served as an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics (UK).[4] He also served as advisor to the American Bar Association's Rule of Law initiative for Africa.[5]

Late career[edit]

He assisted as an advisor in the campaign for his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, for re-election as President in 2009.[5] In 1995 he argued for limiting presidential powers in Malawi.[5] He then entered Malawian politics where he became a Minister in a cabinet he helped to create.[5] 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.[5]

ICSID Arbitration Tribunal[edit]

Mutharika was part of a three-man tribunal that was arbitrating international cases. In August 2011, Mutharika decided 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 sued the Zimbabwean government for breaches of bilateral investment treaties.[11] This was due to concerns about his impartiality because of Bingu Mutharika's close associations with the Mugabe government.[11]

Political life[edit]

Mutharika with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd

He is a President 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 then became Minister of Education, Science and Technology[11] and as of 8 September 2011 he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new "war cabinet".[6]

DPP Factions[edit]

In 2010, tensions rose over claims that President Bingu wa Mutharika's planned to name Peter Mutharika, his brother, as the party successor over the sitting vice-president, Joyce Banda.[12] The Vice-President was later fired from the DPP and launched her own 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.[12]

DPP Presidential Endorsement[edit]

In August 2011, the DPP National Governing Council (NGC) endorsed Peter Mutharika as presidential candidate for the 2014 elections.[13] This announcement came a few days after the 20 July 2011 protests where nationwide strikes were held against Bingu Mutharika's regime.[7] His appointment was endorsed by the DPP NGC since the party did not hold a convention to elect new leaders.[7] 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".[7] 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.

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 years.".[14] Malawi's laws however, do not allow dual citizenship and it was wrongly 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.[15] 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.[16] In February 2014, he relinquished his green card and permanent resident status.[17]

2014 election[edit]

Peter Mutharika was elected as President in the 2014 election. He was sworn in as President on 31 May 2014.[18] 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.[19]

As of June 2014, he supported diversification of Malawi's agriculture into other crops besides tobacco.[20]


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.[21][22] He is a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church.[23] On 21 June 2014, he married his partner Gertrude Maseko, a member of the Malawi Parliament.[24]

Selected 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", Legal Systems of the World (2002)
  • "Some Thoughts on Rebuilding African State Capability," Washington University Law Quarterly (1998)
  • "Creating an Attractive Investment Climate in the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Region," Foreign Investment Law Journal (1997)
  • "The Role of the United Nations Security Council in African Peace Management: Some Proposals," Michigan Journal of International Law (1996)
  • "The 1995 Democratic Constitution of Malawi," Journal of African Law (1996)
  • "The Role of International Law in the Twenty-First Century: An African Perspective," Fordham International Law Journal (1995) and reprinted in Commonwealth Law Bulletin (1995).
  • "The Regulation of Statelessness Under International and National Law," Oceana Publications (1986)
  • "The Alien Under American Law," Oceana Publications (1988)
  • "The International Law of Development," Oceana Publications (1995)


He is a recipient of the following awards;

  • International Jurist Award, 2008
  • The African Leadership Award, 2016 and Medal of Honour, 2016
  • Doctors of Human Letters, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2016
  • State of Georgia Senate Citation of Merit, 2016
  • Honorary Professor, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China, 2018
  • Nelson Mandela Leadership Award, National Baptist Convention, 2018
  • Doctor of Human Letters, Washington University, 2018

International Positions Held[edit]

  • President, International Third-World Legal Studies Association, 1986-1993
  • Global Fund Replenishment Champion, 2018-2019
  • Member, Committee of Ten African Heads of State Championing the Advancement of Education, Science and Technology, appointed by the African Union 2018
  • Champion, Global Partnership for Education
  • African Development Bank, Youth Champion
  • Co-Convenor, Global Commission on Financing Education
  • Champion, Trade Related Aspects of Property Rights (TRIPS)
  • UN Women 'HeForShe' Champion
  • UNFPA Global Youth Champion
  • Advisor in Council of the Economic and Trade Cooperation of African Youth (ETCAY)
  • Board Chairperson for United Nations Economic and Trade Commission of Africa


  1. ^ "Index Mp-Mz". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g
  6. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d "".
  8. ^ [2] Archived 29 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b Washington University in St. Louis | Law School
  10. ^ Lussenhop, Jessica (28 March 2013). "A. Peter Mutharika, Former Wash. U. Law Professor, Charged with Treason in Malawi [UPDATE] | Riverfront Times".
  11. ^ a b c Bhebhe, Vusimusi (8 July 2010). "Mutharika forced to quit Zim land trial". The Zimbabwean.
  12. ^ a b "Malawi: a monarchy in the making? | Francis Chuma | Comment is free".
  13. ^ "DPP fires Secretary General and endorses Peter Mutharika for 2014". 1 August 2011. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012.
  14. ^ [3][dead link]
  15. ^ "Peter Mutharika is not an American citizen: US Embassy". The Nation (Malawi). Archived from the original on 5 June 2014.
  16. ^ [4][dead link]
  17. ^ "DPP's Peter Mutharika dumps US Green Card". The Nation (Malawi). 7 February 2014.
  18. ^ Zawadi Chilunga, "'So help me God': Mutharika sworn in as Malawi President, Chilima VP" Archived 1 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Nyasa Times, 31 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Malawi's president completes cabinet", AFP, 23 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Can Malawi end tobacco addiction?". BBC News. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  21. ^ Muheya, Green (4 April 2014). "Peter Mutharika touted cultured character as widower for 30-years". Nyasa Times. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Christophine G. Mutharika International Law Award". Washington University School of Law.
  23. ^ "Mutharika Shuns National Prayers, Opts For Labourers". 1 May 2014.
  24. ^ "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
Succeeded by
Ephraim Chiume
Preceded by
Joyce Banda
President of Malawi