Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Bingu’s brother leader? Malawi faces Mutharika ‘dynasty’

Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has endorsed embattled President Bingu wa Mutharika’s younger brother as the party’s possible candidate in the 2014 elections, in a move that could inflame opposition to the president.

State radio said on Monday that Peter wa Mutharika, a retired US law professor and the current education minister, would be the party’s likely candidate for the next general election.

“The National Governing Council has nominated Professor Mutharika to contest for the post of presidential candidate during the DPP’s next convention,” presidential and party spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba was quoted as saying.

Protesters this month staged unprecedented rallies against the president that left 19 dead and led to international rebuke.

New protests likely
Opposition groups have given the president a mid-August deadline to listen to their demands, promising a fresh wave of protests if he does not address the chronic poverty that has ensnared most of the southern African country’s 13 million people.

The move will likely weaken the ruling party and fuel discontent in its ranks with several MPs and officials distancing themselves from the president and resigning after the violent response to protests.

Ordinary Malawians, frustrated by a chronic lack of foreign exchange and fuel that they say belies the economy’s stellar growth statistics, want Mutharika out.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, has presided over six years of high-paced but aid-funded growth.

But the sheen has come off this year as he has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with Britain, Malawi’s biggest donor, over a leaked embassy cable that referred to him as “autocratic and intolerant of criticism”.

The cable led to the expulsion of Britain’s ambassador to Lilongwe, and in response, Britain expelled Malawi’s representative in London and suspended aid worth $550-million over the next four years.

The freeze has left a yawning hole in the budget of a country that has relied on handouts for 40% of its revenues, and intensified a foreign currency shortage that is threatening the kwacha’s peg at 150 to the dollar.

The United States said last month it had placed on hold a $350-million aid package for Malawi after the government launched the deadly crackdown on protests. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

More top stories

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…