Congratulations to Joyce Hilda Banda for becoming the first female president of Malawi and the second black female president in the world after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia. Banda replaces the late president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died earlier this month. Banda has a Cambridge Certificate, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbus University and a Diploma in Management from Italy.
In less than a week in office, Banda has fired police Chief Peter Mukhito, information minister and the state’s top broadcaster. She also opened an investigation into the 2011 mysterious murder of student activist Robert Chasowa. Mutharika's critics have accused police of staging a hit against Chasowa, implicating former police Chief Mukhito, who was sacked on Monday.
Three days after taking office, Banda held a news conference and said “Although we are in mourning, certain decisions cannot wait," "As a mother, I feel for my fellow mother who doesn't know what killed her son. I understand how painful it is, and I will make sure we find out who killed our son Chasowa." She also added, "We don't want people to go about murdering people fearlessly."
During a recent interview, the former First Lady Callista Mutharika told the BBC that Banda is nothing more than a market woman selling fritters. But Banda handled the criticism with class, “Yes, she’s right, I’m indeed a mandasi seller and I’m proud of it because the majority of women in Malawi are like us, mandasi sellers.”
During a BBC interview, Banda credits her husband for her success by saying, “My dear husband, Richard, has been the driving force behind my success and rise to whatever level I am now. My story and legacy is incomplete without his mention.”