Monday, April 20, 2009

Presidency not for me – Peter

One of Malawi's highly trained lawyers Pro. Peter Mutharika offering a service to Malawians. He says he is not interested in the presidency but following the good steps of his brother, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika politically. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Kondwani Munthali

THERE is no basis for the assumption in some quarters that President Bingu wa Mutharika is grooming his brother and Chief Legal Advisor Peter for a possible take over in 2014, professor Mutharika has said.

Speaking in an exclusive interview at his area 43 residence in Lilongwe, the younger Mutharika said he has been involved in Malawi politics since colonial days and it is wrong to assume that he has “just come to Malawi” to take over the presidency.

“I don’t know where this is coming from and who started it. I have no interest in that, not at all. There is absolutely no basis for that or assumptions that I would want to become President,” said Mutharika.

This is the first interview the President’s brother has granted to the local media and said he was surprised with some reports linking him to the presidency when he never thought about the position.

Mutharika, who chaired the Charles Nagel Professor of International and Comparative Law and Professor of African and African-American Studies at Washington University, said he has worked for over 40 years in the service of the country and with different freedom fighters, including Attati Mpakati, Henry Masauko Chipembere and Kanyama Chiume.

“I was advisor to Mpakati when he formed LESOMA. When they bombed him for the first time, I met him in London and helped to meet some people in the House of Commons. During the transition I was general counsel for Malawi Action Committee in the USA. We put pressure on the World Bank and other financial institutions to suspend support to Malawi,” he said.

Mutharika said there is a clear distinction between his role as a Chief Legal Advisor to the President and as a relation of the President.

“We discuss family matters separate. As a lawyer, he is my client, so I am governed by the rules and ethics of the profession. I have been official advisor since December 2007,” said the younger Mutharika, who is also the first African to receive the International Jurists Award in 2008.

On the country’s Constitution, Mutharika said the 1995 Constitution was done in a hurry and needs revision by all Malawians to remove confusion that arises during interpretation of some sections.

“Our Constitution is too long, vague and contradictory, which gives problems to those who interpret it. We tried to do two things; to address some of the problems under the one-party system [while] at the same time we were creating framework for a democratic dispensation. We rushed through,” said Mutharika, who has written extensively on law published in various law journals, including the Oxford Law Journal on African law.

Mutharika, who is the last but one in a family of nine, says he likes research and lecturing. Although he has joined active politics, he says being parliamentarian is different from his academic life. He is contesting in Thyolo East constituency on the ruling DPP ticket -Weekend Nation 18-19 April, 2009.


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    Tiuzeni za Bakili mmene walephera kuima kuti what's next!