‘Presidency is a job without description’: Mutharika calls one year as Malawi leader ‘mixed bag’

Malawi President Peter Mutharika has said presidency is not a job one can really prepare, saying his one year in office has been “very challenging” and “very exciting.”

President Peter Mutharika: Mixed bag

President Peter Mutharika: Mixed bag

Mutharika said in an interview to mark the first anniversary of his presidency published by New African magazine that he has “enjoyed” his first year in power, saying “we have faced new issues that I never expected.”

During the interview, New African editor at large, Baffour Ankomah , asked Mutharika if serving his elder brother, late president Bingu wa Mutharika as advisor and ministerial position prepared him for the presidency, he said one cannot “really prepare” the job of President, because “it is a job without any description.”

He said: “In most cases you apply for a job and they want to see your qualifications, MBA in financial management or MBA in marketing or something. But in this job, as president, there are no qualifications. You just do it!”

Mutharika continued: “The important thing about my current job is to understand issues when there are issues, real issues, and then to sift between the issues and non-issues, and find ways of resolving the real issues.

The Malawi leader , however, said he “felt prepared” to lead Malawi because of his 40 years living abroad and the experience in the cabinet under Bingu regime, and also his long academic and international career, “all combined to prepare me for this job. “

Nonetheless, Mutharika said “nobody can be fully prepared” for Presidency of a country “because the things that happen are so many and unpredictable that you try to deal with them as you go along. There is a saying that experience is the best teacher. Politics is dynamic and varies from country to country. “

He said: “I used to dream that one day I was going to be President. Now when you want to succeed in life, you need to familiarise yourself with what you want to be in life. My inclusion in my brother’s cabinet made me understand Malawi’s politics practically. Once or twice in the past, I had been consulted for the democratic constitution of Malawi, but I had little knowledge of the practicality of politics until I became a cabinet minister.”

Mixed Bag

Asked to give a rating of his one year in power, Mutharika said it has been challenging and exciting.

“We have faced new issues that I never expected. Our society is dynamic; every society in Africa now is dynamic. There are new challenges that come up every day, every week. So yes, I have very much enjoyed it,” he said.

Mutharika said his first year has been a mixed bag.

“A mixed bag in the sense that when I came into office, Malawi was facing challenges as a result of the plunder of government resources due to a corruption scandal famously called Cashgate, which had led to the withdrawal of budget support by traditional donors.

“Secondly, at the time the government was putting in place economic and financial reforms to restore donor confidence at the beginning of this year, the country was hit by devastating floods in 15 of our 28 districts, and there was a state of disaster in those regions. The government, with its limited resources, worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of the affected people. Might I add that we are very grateful for all the international support we received during this period,” said the Malawi leader who a fortnight ago turned 75 years.

Mutharika painted a rosy picture of the economic situation, saying prices of goods and services became stable.

“The national currency, the kwacha, is also stable and gaining strength against the major trading currencies,” he said in the interview.

However, the current situation shows Kwacha is falling.

Mutharika said his administration is delivering on its key election campaign promises, and that the donor community is starting to show interest in the country again.

“This gives me more confidence and determination, going forward,” he asserted.

Delivering promises

On delivering his electoral pledges, Mutharika said he promised Malawians during campaign three things: public service reform, community colleges for skills training, and a housing subsidy for cement and iron sheets.

“I want to see that in 10 years’ time there will be no house in this country roofed with grass or built with mud, they should all be bricks, and cement, and roofed with iron sheets,” said Mutharika.

“So in fulfilment of the campaign promises, we have launched a community colleges programme. There will be a college in each of the 28 districts of the country. So far we have built 11, but by the end of this year we will have a college in each of the 28 districts. By the end of next year or after, we will have one community college in each of the 123 constituencies in the country.

“This will bring a huge change in skills development because it is difficult to get a university place here. Only 10% of our students go to university, so there are a lot of kids who have nowhere to go. That is why I promised community colleges during the campaign, and we are doing it,” he said.

Mutharika also said he promised a housing subsidy of cement and iron sheets for “the bottom section of our economy.”

He explained that the housing subsidy is not for everyone but “the people at the lower end of the ladder, so they can have decent housing. And we are doing it.”

Mutharika said his government is on course delivering the public service reform.

“For example, the Presidency has given up some of its powers. You know it is unusual for people to give up their powers, but I have done that. We have already significantly reduced the powers of the Presidency by transferring some departments from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to relevant ministries. This means the OPC is now focussing on its core functions.

“We are now reforming the financial sector, the one that led to the Cashgate scandal. After that we will reform the parastatals and the judiciary. These are the things I promised, and we have made progress fulfilling them.”

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51 thoughts on “‘Presidency is a job without description’: Mutharika calls one year as Malawi leader ‘mixed bag’”

  1. kambwali says:

    Wat was the manifesto for your party then during the campaign if u don’t know wat to do? Y did you want something that you didnt know?
    Does anybody get married and not know wat marriage is all about? You better ask kagame and friends will tell you the JD

  2. el- Chapo(small in stature. big in mind ) says:

    You rigged the elections without remorse. Today life is becoming unbearable because donors won’t support an illegitimate government that grabbed power by hook or crook. what a shame !!!!!!!!

  3. Blessed Banda says:

    He was a full and senior cabinet minister attending all cabinet meetings during his brother’s reign, an advisor to his brother during the first term of Bingu and couldn’t see and learn what his brother was doing. Is he a very slow learner or what? This man ndiwotopetsa bwanji? Suming up what he has said, it only shows that he had and still has no vision and will never have a vision for Malawi. Anawinira mbiri ya nkulu wake munthuyi. Payekha ayi ndithu palibe chilipo. Mmimba ndi nchipaladi, ndithu.

  4. nick says:

    My comment of 30 July still stands — BUT I do think APM’s basic honesty is very significant for Malawi. We have become so accustomed to dishonesty in the presidency and government of Malawi that we may not notice the small changes when they come. The Cashgate log-jam would NEVER have moved under Muluzi, Bingu or Joyce, but it is now beginning to shift, and the truth is slowly coming out. Lutepo’s case may be the key.
    We must give credit (to APM) where it is due !!

  5. Dixy-tee says:

    Such words fits a youngster who does not know what the world is all about. But such rhetoric coming from a President, merely shows that the country is in autopilot. Its like balloon flowing whichever direction the wind blows. So we r being ruled by a blind person who does not know where (s)he is going. God please help us….

  6. Mwama Du says:

    Fees ku colleges kukwera. Kwacha kugwa, anthu kuphedwa, hard life to Malawi, izi ndi zimene wachitapo pa upulezident wako bwana. Vote yolakwika zedi! YOU ARE SUCH AN EMBARRASSMENT TO MALAWIANS!

  7. Blessed Banda says:

    Useless. Whatnwas he campaign about. Useless of all useless.

  8. thinktankmalawi says:

    This prez is honest…Malawi we are used to head of state lying…indeed one year has been mixed bag….and indeed there is no college that prepares one for presidency…

  9. Mai a Buledi says:

    These colleges were they constructed or turned from schools or something? If we are failing to run the universities, will we manage zina?

  10. mtumbuka1 says:

    Peter, there’s is no job description for you but you have mandates as a head of state. Go to the offices of president and cabinet you are bragging about and you will understand your position. You also bragged about people who were caught up in flood disaster but you have forgotten that you left your people dying with the floods and you went for mapwevupwevu in Maputo in Mozambique popping up champaign! You are such an embarrassment of a president no wonder you don’t know what your job as a president is at least you have Dr Ben phiri dragging you along.

  11. ..... says:

    Of the 5 Presidents we had in Malawi, this one is the MOST USELESS GOOD FOR NOTHING Mbendrea’s/Nyirenda’s president Malawi ever had.

  12. Zanga Phe Basi says:

    So u didnt even know what u would be doing once elected president? There4, your manifesto must be full of trash. Mr president, surely u have well articulated job description.

    APM zinthu siziri bwino kunja kuno.. ask your so called advisors n ministers. lack of drugs in our hospitals, security zero pa ten, imagine u dont even kno kuti kwacha iz not stable at all. The list is endless.

    However, i must also admit that u have not failed in all aspects. U have at least reduced internal and extèrnal travels. Improved salaries though delayed payments etc

  13. innocent chiyagwaza mhango says:

    Motivation is all we need
    Democratic Malawi rest in the hands of people in or not in power may be that’s why presidency is a job without description.
    Who will develop Malawi? = Malawian Botton line.go elsewhere u will c that

  14. januaryphiri says:

    LET HIM TRY HIS BEST ,GIVING HIM CONSTRACTIVE PIECES OF ADVICE.

  15. The real ujeni says:

    A failure, giving excuses. He failed as cabinet minister, today you expect him to be successful as a President. Malawi is poor because we love mediocrity. Kaliati comes to mind too.

  16. Lhwomwe Belt says:

    Mbuzi iweeeeeeee

  17. Chimani. Game says:

    Ichindiyechitsiruchenicheni

  18. Sapitwa says:

    Spot on! I watched Bill Clinton and George W Bush the other day when they were duscussing about the Leadership institute these two are driving. They commented that the leadership in the public office mainly that of Presidency is totally different from a normal leadership to a commercial organization.
    Indeed the lack of a job description with relevant qualifications and lack public experience makes it a challenge for Malawi Presidents.That is why most if the Presidents that have led the US were Governors or Head of the Army or Senetors before. I think Bingu had all the qualities by virtue of the fact of heading COMESA and interacting with Leaders in Africa. This gave him a good insight hence his success every year from day one in his term 1.
    Kamuzu learned through lots of blunders;infact people started seeing a difference in 1974 thus 10 years later. He could have left with nothing if he was in Democracy era.
    Muluzi,JB although the two were Ministers and Administrative Secretary and Vice President respectively did not make these two in any way to be suitable for this job. It was indeed a joke to have them as Presidents of Malawi.

  19. Mbanangwa says:

    The president knows today that being the president is a mixed bag! The president knows now that the society is dynamic kikikikiki. Things have always been in flux nd this is not new t all.

  20. musekanji palibe kanu says:

    then its not a job

  21. ndadabwa says:

    iwe ungakhale ndi job description kupanda nzeru kuli ndi iwe

  22. Irene Banda says:

    Ada bwana Mkumbila atiti Moni kwa eku imwe Ada APM ndimwe munthulume

  23. Irene Manda says:

    Wish you well Prof APM

  24. ade says:

    AND YOU USED TO CALL JB AS A CLUELESS WOMAN. AT LEAST IN THE TWO YEARS SHE WA IN POWER SOME POOR PEOPLE SOMEWHERE WERE GIVE DECENT HOUSES BETTER THAN THOSE SOME PRISON, POLICE AND ARMY OFFICERS LIVE IN.

  25. Jossaya says:

    Bwana Pitala bomaaa

  26. Saulosi Thindwa says:

    We from Rumphi wish you Well Sir and keep on delivering your promises God bless

  27. Mpasy Wadye says:

    Ka mzomera u r a big whore in politics muyendera mutu ndi miyendo

  28. J. Phiri says:

    Bwana uprofesa wanu ndi wokayitsa kwambiri u mean by transferring some dept to other ministries u have transferred some powers nononono bwana. Tiuzeni zina

  29. Nkharamu Phiri says:

    The President has a vision for this counter let us throw away the tendency of living on handouts Bravo APM

  30. Mzomera Ngati says:

    Bwana ise kuno ku Hora tikumanya kuti mutovwilenge ndipo Chiuta wamusungani

  31. Mapwevupwevu says:

    No Job Description?? that’s madness: your job description includes but not limited to:

    1. Make sure that Lake Nyasa remains our Lake
    2. improve road network in malawi
    3. create jobs for millions of jobless in malawi
    4. fire Blantyre Water Board Management, they have failed to deliver
    5. prove electricity to rural areas

  32. gift wanda says:

    That’s headless mr president,what makes you to be head of state

  33. Ufulu K says:

    Ena amati mkuluyu ndi polofesa wa constitutional law koma ngati sadziwa ndondomeko ya ntchito yake (Terms of reference) ndiye kuti mkuluyu amanama kuti ndi polofesa wa malamulo. Akawelenge constitution ya malawi, chaputala cha chitatu, ngati alibe nthawi yowelenga chaputa chonse, akayambe sekishoni 89 ndi 90. Akatha abwelenso adzanene ngati sanamvetsetse ntchiyo imene amalawi anamulemba kuti azigwira.

  34. Bob says:

    Yes Mr President you enjoyed your one year in office what of all the state banquets, parties and dinner dances? We the mere Malawian have had different experiences, hunger, fear of criminals and erratic hospital attendance-lack of essential drugs, water, beds etc.

  35. Kenkkk says:

    One year mixed bag performance, that is a fair and honest assessment guys. He has humbled himself in his assessment without much self inflation egoistic praise of himself. It is an acknowledgement of mistakes as well as some success. Mistakes are what some of you guys are pointing out but he has also pointed out some achievements. Manjamo anzanga, clap for once.

    Yes good analysis of your performance but more hard work ahead mr president. You know what some of us mean, we will keep on criticizing where it is due so that you change for the better.

  36. Zagwa says:

    Nde munkabela kuti midzidzatani if you don’t know the job description?

  37. Kadakwiza says:

    Yah! Malawi is in trouble. No good will come from this man called APM.

  38. true no one can prepaire him or herseif into presidency work

  39. Kapolo Sakwiya says:

    Uyutu ndi President wosaonjezera kuti zinthu zilibwino yet zisalibwino. Aliena bwenzi akuonjezera mchere ponamiza azungu kuti zilibwino. Malawi sangathenso kukhala ndi President wina apart from APM. APM up to 2024 woooo.

  40. ..see, he has no agenda, kulondola mphepo basi, puppetry ija nde imeneyo

  41. nick says:

    This is an honest interview. I still think that the way APM came to power in Malawi stinks to high heaven. I still think that APM lacks the vitality and vision needed for the presidency of Malawi. I do hope he hands on to another person soon and does not try to hang on there into his eighties. If he thinks that he was not prepared for the presidency in 2014, Bingu’s presidency shows him that it only gets WORSE!!!

  42. Joseph says:

    So you ready are not ready for to be us huh? Making up things as we go? We thought as much.
    The currency is stable? Are you serious?

  43. Zabodza izi says:

    Kodi paja Prophesy ya Liabunya anati chiani? Some how I am beginning to put the pieces together. We are watching.

  44. mapapaya says:

    I wish some of you could spell out what you want the president to include in this interview to show that he is wise enough to lead you and the entire nation. I am fade up with your un -constructive remarks which are open ended.

  45. Anjiba says:

    Mukakhala kutsogoloko mudziwe kuti pakatipa pali chotchinga ndie nduna zanuzo alangizi anuwo amakuuzani zabodza kunjaku anthu akudandaula siziri bwino ndie mukamati zintu ziribwino tsopano ndie kuti kwainuyo

  46. Bodza la n'nanu says:

    “No job description” are you out of your mind? You must be joking!

  47. becks says:

    Theorist at it again. I am not surprised. He was not prepared to be president. No vision for the country. No vision people perish

  48. zaya ku nkhongo says:

    Headless chicken; dreaming in colour as your brother. What a failure

  49. Ken says:

    APM Woyeeeeee DPP Bomaaa!

  50. bakulu says:

    Truth be told Mr. President your performance is way above average. No two ways about it. You have reduced internal and external travel that is commendable.

  51. Masharubu says:

    You just need to scrutinise APM’s utterances in this interview to have your fears confirmed that we have a complete idiot for a president . Palibe cha nzeru chomwe wakamba apa . No single intelligent quote throughout the interview to show that the country has a wise person in the driver’s seat . So sad .

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