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Entries in Malawi (4)

Monday
Aug062012

WATCH: Hillary Clinton Dances with Malawian Farmers

State Dept Photo(LILONGWE, Malawi) -- Hillary Clinton Sunday was in Malawi, officially the 106th country she has visited as secretary of state.

Clinton joined local farmers in a dance and spoke to a farmer, Margaret, who told her that since the U.S. Agency for International Development gave her a cow seven years ago, and with the money she has made from the milk and the manure the cow has provided, she has been able to buy an ox, goats, clothes, sugar and build a house for her family.

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The event was at The Lumbadzi Milk Bulking Group, which is part of the Feed the Future program, one of President Obama’s signature development initiatives. The primary focus is to reduce poverty and improve nutrition for 270,000 households in south-central Malawi.

Clinton told the crowd that thanks to their hard work, milk production in the southeast African country has increased substantially. She also announced that the United States intends to invest more than $46 million in Malawian agriculture in the next three years.

Clinton, with USAID, also presented a pure-bred dairy bull, named Emanuel, to the group.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr072012

Malawi’s New Leader: Joyce Banda Becomes Second Woman President in Africa

Amos Gumulira/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The continent of Africa now has a second woman holding the top leadership role in her country.

Joyce Banda was sworn in Saturday as the new president of the southern African nation of Malawi.

The peaceful transition of power is a great relief in Malawi where a political crisis seems to have been averted after the sudden death Thursday of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

For many Malawians who blamed Mutharika for the current economic crisis, it is also a moment of great hope for change.

Early Saturday, when she was still vice president, Banda appeared at a news conference flanked by army, police and fellow government leaders.

According to Malawi media, she did not directly answer the question of whether she would assume the presidency, but she did say, “The constitution is prevailing.”

Indeed, hours later she took the official oath of office at the National Assembly in the capital of Lilongwe, despite objections from some government ministers.

Malawi’s constitution stipulates the vice president is to take over leadership if the president dies.

Immediately after Mutharika’s death by cardiac arrest, it was unclear if that would happen because Banda had a falling out with Mutharika in 2010.

While she remained vice president, she was kicked out of Mutharika’s political party and formed her own. Mutharika, meanwhile, appeared to be grooming his brother to replace him.

Banda has ordered the nation’s flags to be flown at half-staff for a 10 day mourning period for her predecessor, but there are already reports of Malawians celebrating Mutharika’s death.

The 78-year-old former World Bank official was elected into office in 2004 and again in 2009, but in recent years he was accused of economic mismanagement, becoming autocratic and souring relations with important donors—especially the United States and Great Britain—who then withheld hundreds of millions of dollars of much needed aid.

Banda, 61, is a longtime campaigner for women’s rights and better education in Malawi.

She is expected to run the country at least until scheduled elections take place in 2014.

She inherits a difficult task.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world where the majority of people live in abject poverty.

The country is prone to natural disasters—the extremes of drought and flooding– and is facing critical fuel shortages and rising food prices.

To govern effectively, Banda will need cooperation from elected members of Mutharika’s political party, which she was expelled from after she became critical of the late president.

Banda is the daughter of a popular musician, and is married to a retired chief justice. She has a sister who was hired by pop legend Madonna to run a school for girls in Malawi, but the project failed and she was fired.

Banda is now the second female head of state in Africa.  Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected into office in 2006.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr062012

Malawi President Believed Dead, VP to Assume Position

AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/Getty Images(LILONGWE, Malawi) -- A day after Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika went into cardiac arrest, there is still no confirmation of his reported death.

Several local and international media have reported on the 78-year-old leader’s death but the Malawian government has yet to confirm it. BBC News reports that state media said Mutharika was flown to South Africa.  

The southern African nation is facing an economic crisis after diplomatic relations soured with the United Kingdom, resulting in the halting of millions of pounds in aid. Malawi is one of the poorest nations in the world.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, was elected to the presidency in 2004 representing the United Democratic Front party, but left the party in 2005 to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He was re-elected for a second term in 2009.

Vice President Joyce Banda, who was expelled from the DPP in 2010 and formed her own party, is poised to assume the presidency according to the constitution. However delay on information of Mutharika’s condition has led to questions about whether members of the ruling party will welcome Banda as the new president.

According to the constitution, Banda should have already assumed power since the president is incapacitated. Banda says she is waiting to hear from South Africa on Mutharika's condition.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson extended the nation’s condolences but also addressed the issue of succession:

“Malawi's constitution lays out a clear path for succession and we expect it to be observed. We are concerned about the delay in the transfer of power. We trust that the Vice-President who is next in line will be sworn in shortly.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr052012

Malawi President in Critical Condition After Heart Attack

AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/Getty Images(LILONGWE, Malawi) -- Malawi’s 78-year-old president is in critical condition after going into cardiac arrest on Thursday.

President Bingu wa Mutharika was transported to Kamuzu Central Hospital for treatment and is reportedly unconscious and in intensive care, reports BBC News.

Mutharika’s wife and brother, who is also the country’s foreign minister, visited him in the hospital.

The southern African nation is facing an economic crisis after diplomatic relations soured with the United Kingdom, resulting in the halting of millions of pounds in aid. Malawi is one of the poorest nations in the world.

Mutharika was elected to the presidency in 2004 representing the United Democratic Front party, but left the party in 2005 to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He was re-elected for a second term in 2009.

Vice President Joyce Banda, who was expelled from the DPP in 2010 and formed her own party, would assume the presidency if Mutharika dies or is incapacitated, according to the constitution.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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