Peter Mutharika

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On 21 May 2019, Malawi held elections to elect a new president, members of parliament, and local government councillors. Peter Mutharika was nominated and endorsed as the presidential candidate of the DPP. His main challenger was Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Saulos Chilima, who had been Mutharika's vice president since 2014, also put up a strong challenge against Mutharika since the two parted ways in April 2018. The election was marred with controversy and claims of rigging by Mutharika's DPP. In some districts such as Nsanje and Chikwawa in the southern end of Malawi, the Malawi Electoral Commission staff managing the polls were accused of swapping the presidential results for Chakwera to be for Mutharika. A district polling staff for Nsanje, Fred Thomas, was arrested for being found tampering with results sheets of the election. [25] Similar issues of vote rigging and threatening of opposition political party monitors by the DPP were reported in other districts such as Zomba, Thyolo, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota. A lot of results sheets were also affected by tampering by "tippexing". Political thugs, thought to be from the DPP, got hold of results and changed figures by 'erasing' original figures by applying tippex (a brand of correction fluid). This led to the election to be known as "the Tippex Election", and the subsequent election of Mutharika as "the Tippex President". On 27 May 2019 and despite all the irregularities, the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Supreme Court judge Justice Jane Ansah, announced Mutharika as the winner of the controversial elections with 1,940,709 votes against 1,781,740 for closest challenger Dr Lazarus Chakwera of the MCP. Saulos Chilima, who represented the UTM polled 1,018,369 votes. Mutharika was subsequently sworn in on 28 May 2019 for a new five-year term. The opposition MCP and UTM have then further applied to the High Court of Malawi to nullify the election results and conduct another election. Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition continued conducting demonstrations ever since against the conduct of the elections. [26] The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) then headed by Timothy Mtambo led a wave of protest against Mutharika regime accusing his government of nepotism and demanding that Jane Ansah resign. [27]

On 3 February 2020, the Constitutional Court judges arrived in Lilongwe court to give a long-awaited ruling on that disputed presidential election, travelling in a military vehicle under heavy police escort. The judges took turns to read the 500-page decision over more than seven hours. [28] The Malawi Constitutional Court ruled to nullify the 21 May 2019 election, citing irregularities by the Malawi Electoral Commission. It further ordered fresh election to be conducted in 150 days. The nullification was unprecedented in Malawi, and only the second instance of such happening in Africa, the other being the Supreme Court of Kenya decision regarding the 2017 Kenyan presidential election. [29]

2020 election

Mutharika was defeated by Lazarus Chakwera in the 2020 election, having only obtained about 40% of the vote. Chakwera was sworn in as president of Malawi on 28 June 2020. [4]

On 17 July 2022, Peter Mutharika held a press conference at his Page House in Mangochi where he accused the current Tonse Alliance administration of failing Malawians and not fulfilling their Campaign promises. He also vowed that his Party will win the 2025 elections and he is still considering on whether he should stand again.[39] [30]

Anti-corruption investigations

In August 2020, the Malawi Anti-Corruption Commission froze the bank accounts of Peter and his wife Gertrude, as a part of an anti-corruption investigation into the importation of K5 billion dollars' worth of cement free of taxes, a privilege for incumbent presidents in Malawi. [31] In January 2021, the High Court dismissed Mutharika's application to lift the freeze on his accounts. [32]

Personal life

Mutharika meeting Henry Bellingham of the British Foreign Office Meeting Malawian Foreign Minister Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika (6175272731).jpg
Mutharika meeting Henry Bellingham of the British Foreign Office

Mutharika has two daughters and a son from his first marriage. His first wife, Christophine, died while the children were young. She was a Catholic from the Caribbean. [33] [34]

Mutharika remained a widower for more than thirty years, but on 21 June 2014, he married Gertrude Maseko, a member of the Malawi Parliament. [35]

Mutharika is a member of the Presbyterian Church. [36] He is the younger brother of Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi's third president.

Selected works


He is a recipient of the following awards;

International positions held

Related Research Articles

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Peter Mutharika
Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg
Peter Mutharika in 2014
5th President of Malawi
In office
31 May 2014 28 June 2020
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Malawi
Succeeded by