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Blantyre, Malawi– Joyce Banda was recently sworn in as Malawi’s first female President. Banda, who served as the southern African nation’s Vice President, assumes power amid Malawi’s crushing economic crisis. According to reports, shortages in sugar and fuel have created long lines at shops and service stations.

Prior to Banda’s takeover, it wasn’t clear who was running the Malawi government.  Doctors announced that Malawi’s late President,  Bingu wa Mutharika died one day prior to the government officially announcing his death on Saturday, April 7th.  Under Malawi’s constitution, Banda will serve out Mutharika’s term, which ends in 2014.

 It’s hoped that Banda, 62, can restore confidence in the Malawi after a U.S. Aid agency suspended a $350 million worth of assistance. The suspension in aide was due to charges of human rights abuses and government mismanagement by Mutharika.  According to Gift Mwakhawa, president of the Law Society of Malawi, Banda appears to have the peoples interest at heart.   “(Banda) was one of the people who advocated for adherence to the rule of law and sound economic policies while she was an estranged vice president. We expect her to practice what she’s preached.”

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