Bingu wa Mutharika
|3rd President of Malawi|
24 May 2004 –5 April 2012
|Preceded by||Bakili Muluzi|
|Succeeded by||Joyce Banda|
|8th Chairperson of the African Union|
31 January 2010 –31 January 2011
|Preceded by||Muammar Gaddafi|
|Succeeded by||Teodoro Obiang Nguema|
Brightson Webster Ryson Thom
24 February 1934
|Died||5 April 2012 78) (aged|
|Political party||DPP (2005–2012)|
(m. 1984;died 2007)
|Relatives||Peter Mutharika (brother)|
|Alma mater|| University of Delhi |
California Miramar University
Bingu wa Mutharika ( /muˈtærɪkə/ ;born Brightson Webster Ryson Thom;24 February 1934 –5 April 2012) was a Malawian politician and economist who was President of Malawi from May 2004 until his death in April 2012. He was also President of the Democratic Progressive Party,which he founded in February 2005;it obtained a majority in Malawi's parliament in the 2009 general election. In 2010,He was given the Title "Ngwazi" by Ngoni Paramount chief Inkosi M’mbelwa in Mzimba,he at this point,became the first Malawian President to be given the Title after The Late Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda ( The First President and founder of the Republic of Malawi).
During his two terms in office,he was noted for being the Chairperson of the African Union in 2010–2011,as well as for several domestic controversies. In 2009,he purchased a private presidential jet for $13.26 million. This was followed almost immediately by a nationwide fuel shortage,which was officially blamed on logistical problems but was more likely due to the hard currency shortage caused by the freezing of aid by the international community.  He died in office from a cardiac arrest on 5 April 2012,at age 78.
Bingu wa Mutharika was born Brightson Webster Ryson Thom on 24 February 1934 in the village of Kamoto in Thyolo District,and is a member of the Lomwe ethnic group.   Mutharika's parents,Ryson Thom Mutharika and Eleni Thom Mutharika,were both members of the Church of Scotland Mission which later became Church of Central Africa,Presbyterian. His father was a teacher for 37 years and his mother taught the women of the Mvano group.[ citation needed ]
Upon completing his primary education at Ulongwe Mission and Chingoli,Mulanje,Ntambanyama,Malamulo,in Thyolo and Henri Henderson Institute in Blantyre,Mutharika obtained a Grade A Cambridge Overseas School Leaving Certificate at Dedza Secondary School in 1956. After that,he joined the Nyasaland civil service. In 1964,he was one of the 32 Malawians selected by Hastings Kamuzu Banda (President of Malawi 1961–1994) to travel to India on an Indira Gandhi scholarship for 'fast track' diplomas. The BBC reports that he went to India to "escape then President Hastings Banda's crackdown on political opponents". At some point during the 1960s,he also changed his name,to Bingu wa Mutharika.  [ failed verification ] In India,Mutharika earned his bachelor's degree in Economics from the Shri Ram College of Commerce,Delhi. Subsequently,he attended the Delhi School of Economics graduating with a M.A. degree in Economics. He later obtained a PhD degree in Development Economics from Pacific Western University. Mutharika also completed short courses on Business Management,Financial Analysis,Trade Promotion,Political Leadership,regional Economic Co-operation and Human Relations.  In the early 1990s,he was one of the first to be employed at the Preferential Trade Area of East and Central Africa (PTA) and became its secretary-general in 1991. 
Mutharika served in the Malawi civil service. He served as an administrative officer in the Government of Malawi and also in Zambia. He was offered the Deputy Governorship of the reserve Bank of Malawi and appointed Minister of Economic Planning and Development in 2002.[ citation needed ]
He also worked at the World Bank as a Loans Officer and at the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa,as Director of Trade and Development Finance and as Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa COMESA,covering 22 member states.   
Mutharika was nominated by President Muluzi as his successor. Mutharika won the presidential election on 20 May 2004,ahead of John Tembo and Gwanda Chakuamba,and took office a few days later. 
On 7 October 2006,Mutharika stated his intention to seek re-election in the 2009 presidential election as the DPP candidate.  Two years later,in October 2008,the DPP's national governing council unanimously chose Mutharika as the party's candidate for the 2009 election,  which he won with 66.7% of the vote. 
During President Mutharika's first term in office (2004–2008),the country achieved a high rate of agricultural production and food security. The President's initiatives,centred on a programme of agricultural subsidy,benefited approximately 1,700,000 resource poor smallholder farmers. In the 2005/2006 crop season,Malawi achieved a food surplus of more than 500,000 metric tons. During the 2008/2009 planting season,food surpluses topped 1.3 million metric tons. This agricultural policy was widely regarded as successful but expensive,and was curtailed in 2011. 
Under his tenure,the constitutionally enshrined human rights and separation of powers were enhanced,including legal reform.  His first term was seen as a broad political success.  He has also been credited with committing to and presiding over economic reform,fiscal restraint and anti-corruption measures.  During his tenure,the election was recognised by monitors as fair.   Mutharika's Malawi Growth and Development Strategy for 2006–2011 prioritised the enhancement of:agriculture and food security,education,transport,energy generation,rural development,irrigation and water development,youth development and anti-corruption initiatives. 
In 2009,Malawi's Ministry of Finance estimated that during the previous four years the share of Malawians living below the poverty line fell from 52 percent to 40 percent. This has been attributed to the country's agricultural policies,which have been seen as pioneering in the context of African economic development. 
In addition to championing food security in Malawi,Mutharika promoted a similar approach for Africa. While Chairman of the African Union in 2010,  the President laid down a plan for Africa to achieve sustainability and food security.  He proposed a new partnership with other African nations,which he called the "African Food Basket",  outlining a strategy incorporating subsidies to small farmers,especially women,improvements in irrigation,and improving agriculture and food security over 5 years through innovative interventions that comprise subsidies,increased budgetary allocations,private sector investment and affordable information and communications technology. Approximately half of the country's subsistence farmers received vouchers which provided discounts on maize seed and fertiliser. To sustain the program,the Malawi Government allocated 11 percent of its budget for 2010/2011 to agriculture,continuing a rare record of commitment on this scale in Africa. The level of investment in the programme was reduced in 2011. 
Mutharika was accused of trying to sideline and isolate his vice-president,Joyce Banda. He expelled her from the party in 2010 because she refused to accept the nomination of Peter Mutharika as the next president.  She remained vice-president of the country because there had been no formal impeachment process.[ citation needed ]
As a result of the Cochrane-Dyet 2011 cable controversy that accused Mutharika of being increasingly 'arrogant' and 'autocratic',he expelled the British High Commissioner. 
In international relationships,his close relationships with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan were controversial. 
In 2011,days of nationwide protests occurred,sparked by worsening fuel shortages,rising prices and high unemployment. Malawi's health ministry confirmed 18 deaths in the northern cities of Karonga and Mzuzu as a result of police using live ammunition to quell protests.  Mutharika was unapologetic and said that he would "smoke out" all his enemies. This was accompanied by a crack-down on Malawian journalists,human rights activists,and lawyers,including Ralph Kasambara.  Other events that marred his presidency were the activities surrounding the 2011 academic freedom stand-off between the President and University,and the death of student activist Robert Chasowa.
On 31 January 2010,Mutharika replaced Muammar al-Gaddafi as chairman of the African Union after Gaddafi's attempt to run as the African Union chairman for an additional year failed. Mutharika was Malawi's first head of state to assume the position of chairman.  In his acceptance speech he said that "Africa is not a poor continent,but the African population are poor" and called for "Africa to develop Africa". He shared his vision for the African Food Basket Initiative by making food security a priority in his agenda.
On 4 April he attended the 50th anniversary in celebration of Senegalese independence as the African Union chairman. He also attended the G8 summit in Canada and the G20 summit in Seoul,South Korea. 
On 26 July,he attended the African Union summit in Kampala,Uganda,  where he condemned the International Criminal Court (ICC) for issuing a warrant to arrest Omar al Bashir because it undermined African authority.  They adopted the African Food Basket Initiative here which was presented to the UN on 29 September.  On 6 September,he attended the inauguration of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.  He attended the Iran-Africa Conference,which aimed at strengthening ties between Iran and African countries.  During a speech at Boston University,Mutharika defended his subsidy program and noted that although Western countries say African governments should not subsidise agriculture,Western governments subsidise their own farmers.  Malawi hosted Africa's first conference that brought together Ministers of Agriculture in Africa where they were urged to fight for subsidies in agriculture.  He did not attend the Africa-EU Trade summit in Libya but no official reason was provided for this move.  During his tenure,he joined international calls for Laurent Gbagbo to accept defeat following the 2010 Ivorian presidential election. 
Mutharika was born and baptised in the Presbyterian denomination,later converting to Roman Catholicism.  He married Zimbabwean Ethel Zvauya Mutharika,with whom he had four children. Ethel Mutharika died on 28 May 2007. In 2010,Mutharika announced he planned to marry Callista Chimombo,a former Minister of Tourism. The two were married on 1 May 2010. 
Mutharika's brother,Peter Mutharika,was a lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis. In May 2009,he was elected to the Malawian Parliament,and was subsequently appointed to the Malawi Cabinet as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He has held other cabinet positions.[ citation needed ] He became the 5th President of Malawi,following the 2014 General election in which he garnered 36% of the national vote and represented the DPP.
Mutharika died on 5 April 2012 at the age of 78.    He suffered a heart attack and was reportedly flown to a South African hospital due to power outages in Lilongwe.  The media reported "chaotic scenes" after his wife,Callista,and other cabinet members were leaving the hospital. His condition was initially announced as "critical",and police were deployed throughout the capital with 15 Army officers posted at the Vice-President's residence. 
His death was officially confirmed on 7 April,  the day Joyce Banda was sworn in as Malawi's first female president despite controversy following Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati's statement that "the conduct of the honourable Joyce Banda in forming her own opposition party precludes her from being eligible to succeed the presidency,"  while the country's security forces also wanted the constitutional order to prevail. 
The former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania Charles Stith said of Mutharika that he was "unwavering in his commitment to improve the plight of Malawi's poor" and that he was "one of Africa's most courageous and conscientious leaders." 
Mutharika received the following awards:
Mutharika received several honorary degrees including Professor of Economics by East China Normal University,in April 2010;Doctor of Letters (D.Lilkmktt) Degree Honoris Causa by the University of Delhi in October 2010;Doctor of Law (PhD Degree (Honoris Causa),Mzuzu University,in 2008 and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree (Honoris Causa),University of Strathclyde,Scotland in 2005.[ citation needed ]
He was the founder and chairman of the Bineth Trust –a nonprofit organisation promoting education;founder of the Silvergrey International;and founder and Chairman of the Bingu Silvergrey Foundation of the elderly and retired persons. He is also the founder of the Malawi University of Science and Technology,the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources;University of Cotton Research at Bangula;the University of Marine biology;the University of Mombera and the University of Nkhotakota. 
Malawi,officially the Republic of Malawi,is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west,Tanzania to the north and northeast,and Mozambique to the east,south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km2 (45,747 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 19,431,566. Malawi's capital is Lilongwe. Its second-largest is Blantyre,its third-largest is Mzuzu and its fourth-largest is its former capital,Zomba. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi,an old name for the Chewa people who inhabit the area. The country is nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa" because of the friendliness of its people.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a political party in Malawi. The party was formed in February 2005 by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika after a dispute with the United Democratic Front (UDF),which was led by his predecessor,Bakili Muluzi.
George T. Chaponda is a Malawian career diplomat and politician who served as Malawi's Minister of Agriculture,Irrigation and Water Development from 2016 to 2017. He is a founding member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and is a DPP Member of Parliament from Mulanje district in southern Malawi.
Joyce Hilda Banda is a Malawian politician who was the President of Malawi from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014. Banda took office as President following the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. She is the founder and leader of the People's Party,created in 2011. An educator and grassroots women's rights activist,she was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and the Vice-President of Malawi from May 2009 to April 2012. She had served in various roles as a member of Parliament and as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare before she became the President of the Republic of Malawi.
Madame Ethel Mutharika was the First Lady of Malawi and wife of the President of Malawi,Bingu wa Mutharika. Madam Mutharika was born in Zimbabwe. As First Lady,wa Mutharika was known for her charitable work and had established the Ethel Mutharika Foundation in an effort to help the poor of Malawi. wa Mutharika died in Lilongwe after a long battle with cancer at the age of 63.
Madame Callista Chapola-Chimombo is a Malawian politician and the widow of President Bingu wa Mutharika. She served as the First Lady of the Republic of Malawi from 2010 to 2012. Chimombo is a previous member of the Cabinet of Malawi as a National Coordinator of Maternal,Infant and Child Health and HIV/Nutrition/Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Billy Abner Mayaya is a Malawian human rights activist,artist,poet and theologian.
Goodall Edward Gondwe is a Malawian economist who served in the cabinet of Malawi as Minister of Finance from 2014 to 2019. Previously he was Minister of Finance from 2004 to 2009,Minister of Local Government from 2009 to 2010,and Minister of Natural Resources,Energy and Environment Affairs from 2011 to 2012.
The history of human rights in Malawi during recent decades is complicated,and the situation at present is in a state of dramatic,and positive,transition.
Arthur Peter Mutharika is a Malawian politician and lawyer who was President of Malawi from May 2014 to June 2020. Mutharika has worked in the field of international justice,specialising in 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.
Professor Peter Nelson Mwanza is a Malawian politician. He was appointed Minister of Lands,Housing and Urban Development in the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi on 17 June 2009. He was reassigned to become Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in a cabinet reshuffle on 9 August 2010.
Sidik Mia was a Malawian businessman,politician,and Member of Parliament who held various ministerial positions within the Cabinet of Malawi beginning in 2004,serving as Minister of Transport and Public Works since June 2020. He was the Deputy President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) until his death due to COVID-19 related illness on 12 January 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi. He stood as the vice presidential running mate to Dr. Lazarus Chakwera in the 2019 Malawian general election.
Eta Elizabeth Banda is a former Malawian politician who was the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2011. Prior to entering politics,she worked as a health professional and university administrator.
The 2011 Malawi protests were protests aimed at winning political and economic reforms or concessions from the government of Malawi. On 20 July,Malawian organisations protested against perceived poor economic management and poor governance by President Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party. After the first two days of protests,18 deaths,98 serious injuries and 275 arrests had been reported. Further demonstrations were organised on 17 August and 21 September The first protest was later cancelled due to the intervention of a UN representative in initiating a dialogue;however,the talks broke down with more protests planned for Red Wednesday through a national vigil.
Professor Blessings Chinsinga is a Malawian lecturer at the centre of the Malawi Academic Freedom Stand off and eventual protests. He was a Senior Lecturer in Development Administration,Public Policy Analysis and Institutions,and Development at University of Malawi's Chancellor College.
Peter Mukhito is the former Inspector General of Police in Malawi. He comes from Chiradzulu District. He has gained notoriety for his involvement in interrogating Blessings Chinsinga which began the stand off for academic freedom in Malawi between Chinsinga and President Bingu wa Mutharika. He was also involved in the investigation in the death of Robert Chasowa. Mukhito was also the Inspector General during the 2011 Malawian national protest against President Bingu wa Mutharika,that saw 19 Malawians killed.
Ralph Kasambara is a Malawian lawyer,who served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General since April 2012. He also served as the former Attorney General under the administration of Bingu wa Mutharika during the early part of the administration. After which he became the legal representative of the then Malawian vice-president,Joyce Banda. Kasambara has been a critic of the administration of Bingu wa Mutharika,being vocal about grounds for impeachment and commenting that "wants to be a dictator". He was jailed in February 2012,after thugs went to his office with petrol bombs in an attempted arson plot,he called the police,together with supporters and restrained the perpetrators. Instead he was arrested for kidnapping and torture of the thugs. He was later released on bail,and then arrested again over the faulty bail procedures.
The 2012 Malawian constitutional crisis occurred from April 5,2012 - April 7,2012 after senior members of the Democratic Progressive Party-led cabinet failed to notify the public of the death of the sitting president,Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5. Instead,cabinet ministers held a series of meetings in Lilongwe,Malawi without vice-president Joyce Banda with the aim of undermining the constitution and Banda's succession to Presidency. News confirming his death had,however,quickly spread across the country through word of mouth,cellphone text messages,Malawian bloggers,Twitter,Facebook,and on listservs by the end of the day on April 5,2012. Therefore,the failure to announce his death resulted in speculation over the real health of the president and over whether the succession procedures would be followed as outlined in the constitution. According to the constitution,the vice-president takes over but there had been no official word on a successor or communication with the vice-president. Amidst growing speculation,the Cabinet announced that the president's brother,Peter Mutharika,the foreign minister,was the new President of the party on April 6. The Cabinet only announced his death two days after his death,after which Banda became Malawi's first female President.
Raphael (Ralph) Tenthani was a freelance journalist from Malawi. Tenthani was a BBC correspondent and a columnist for The Sunday Times. He was a respected journalist in Malawi well known for his popular column,"The Muckraking". He was well known for providing political analysis on topical issues. He had been the subject of controversy for his candid reporting on political issues. He was very critical of the crackdown on journalism during the Bingu wa Mutharika administration. He was also a columnist for Associated Press,Pan African News Agency,and the Maravi Post.
General elections were held in Malawi on 20 May 2014. They were Malawi's first tripartite elections,the first time the president,National Assembly and local councillors were elected on the same day. The presidential election was won by opposition candidate Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party,who defeated incumbent President Joyce Banda.