Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika

  • President
  • Lilongwe
  • 2018-12-30

Arthur Peter Mutharika 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. 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 United Kingdom 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.

Early career

Mutharika received his law degree from the University of London in 1965. He then received his LL.M and JSD/PhD 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 37 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.

Late career

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

Political life

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 3rd Malawi's President Dr. Bingu Wa Muntharika to the Malawi Cabinet as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He then became Minister of Education, Science and Technology and as of 8 September 2011 he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new "war cabinet".

2014 election

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. 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.

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

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 , 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

- 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