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

Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965.[8] He then received his LL.M and JSD 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

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

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

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 Muharika 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

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] 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 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

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 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.[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. The national radio station and television have been endorsing Peter Mutharika since early this year as a candidate.[14]

US citizenship controversy

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.".[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] In February 2014, he relinquished his green card and permanent resident status.[18]

2014 election

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]


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]

Selected Works

  • "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).


He is a recipient of the 2008 International Jurist Award.

He received the African Leadership Award in September 2016.

He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia in 2017.[citation needed]


  1. ^
  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. ^ REX CHIKOKO Nation Correspondent. "Family affair as Mutharika brother set to run in 2014 – Africa". 
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ "Peter Mutharika is not an American citizen: US Embassy". The Nation (Malawi). Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. 
  17. ^ [4][dead link]
  18. ^ "DPP's Peter Mutharika dumps US Green Card". The Nation (Malawi). 7 February 2014. 
  19. ^ 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.
  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. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. 
  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. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. 
  25. ^ "Mutharika Shuns National Prayers, Opts For Labourers". 1 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Mutharika weds partner in colourful ceremony". Independent Online (South Africa). 2014-06-21. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Etta Banda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ephraim Chiume
Preceded by
Joyce Banda
President of Malawi
Retrieved from "