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Malawi’s President Names Ken Lipenga as Finance Minister

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika named Ken Lipenga as finance minister, replacing Ken Kandodo in a new, smaller cabinet, following protests demanding a cut in state spending.

Mutharika also fired Vice President Joyce Banda and included his wife Callista Mutharika in a 30-member executive, the presidency said in a statement read out on Blantyre-based Malawi Broadcasting Corp. radio. Lipenga was tourism minister in the previous cabinet.

Mutharika disbanded his 42-member cabinet on Aug. 19, a month after protests by civil society groups against his government and shortages of fuel and foreign currency. Nineteen people died in the southern African nation in clashes with police during demonstrations on July 20 and 21.

The groups, including the Malawi Law Society and the Council of Churches, called off a second round of demonstrations planned for Aug. 17 to allow time for talks with the government.

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