Apr 12, 2012

Madam President

A week ago, I doubt Malawi’s former vice-president, Joyce Banda, could have imagined she would be celebrating her 62nd birthday (today), as the country’s new president. Her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Kamuzu Central Hospital. Her ascension to the office of president was briefly mired in intrigue given the fact that Mutharika’s inner circle was meeting behind closed doors scheming to block her path.

Fortunately, the language in Malawi’s constitution is clear about who steps in in the event of a president’s death or incapacitation, and Ms Banda was sworn in two days after Mutharika’s death. I watched the live coverage of the swearing-in ceremony, and I have to admit I was covered in goose bumps. This was history unfolding before my own eyes.

Joyce Banda is a life-long advocate of the advancement of women’s rights and is no political lightweight. She has a tough job ahead in restoring confidence in the executive branch and returning sanity to the economy. It is my fervent hope that she surrounds herself with worthy advisors and colleagues who will keep her honest and also have the tenacity to do the job at hand.

Happy birthday Madam President and Godspeed!


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