Malawi:Joyce Banda Sworn in as President

She becomes the first female president in Southern Africa and the second only on the African continent after Sirleen Johnstone of Liberia.

The United States (US) also asked authorities to speed up the swearing in ceremony as the constitution demands.

Reports indicate last night Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Henry Odillo, Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General
Peter Mukhito, and National Intelligence Service (NIS) boss Binton Kutsaira all swore allegiance to Banda.

Banda, a reject of the late Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will automatically draw her newly formed
Peoples Party into government. She is also certain, analysts say, to create an all inclusive government alongside parties in the Grand
Coalition, a grouping of opposition political parties formulated to help oust Mutharika come the 2014 general elections.

There are also interesting events at the swearing in, as Chief Justice Munlo has forgotten his robes over 300 kms away in the commercial city of Blantyre.

People are being asked to stay out of the parliament chambers and wait outside where the new State President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Madamme Joyce Banda will inspect her first Guard of Honour as President the Republic of Malawi.

BBC’s News Southern Africa correspondent said in her tweet post that:“…what we see may be a symbolic show of support rather than a legal
swearing in…”

“Malawi the answer would appear to be that any subsequent swearing in would be symbolic ‘coz’ Banda technically President already,” she
wrote on Saturday around 2 pm.

An increasingly autocrat, late Mutharika had earmarked his younger brother, Peter, for presidency of his party and hence an automatic torch bearer in the presidential race. The two brothers and cabinet ministers boasted he would be the next Malawi president.

The civil society organisations, the international community, donor partners and opposition parties all tried to convince Mutharika to see
sense in bringing back Malawi’s growing economic, social and political woes to no avail.

The sudden death, a result of a cardiac arrest, has dashed those dreams, though a group of ministers led by the party’s vice president Dr. Jean Kalilani tried to push a ‘cabinet coup’ and place the young Mutharika, a law professor, as Malawi’s leader.

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