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Malawi’s Banda Becomes President Vowing Unity After Mutharika

Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn in today as president, pledging to unite the nation after Bingu wa Mutharika’s death sparked U.S. concern the southern African nation was headed toward a power struggle.

Banda, who was next in line to assume power according to the nation’s laws, became Africa’s second female president in a ceremony in Lilongwe, the capital. Mutharika, 78, suffered a heart attack on April 5 at State House in the capital, and died at One Military Hospital in South Africa the same day, Bright Msaka, chief secretary of the government, said in an e-mailed statement today.