Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn in Saturday as Malawi’s first woman president, and the third female head of state in Africa. Her predecessor, 78-year-old President Bingu wa Mutharika, died suddenly Thursday from a heart attack, the Associated Press reports.
Banda took her oath of office before parliament in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to much cheering and applause. She pledged to “defend and preserve the constitution,” accepting with “a great sense of humility and honour” “the huge responsibility” with which “the people of Malawi have entrusted me.”

Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn in Saturday as Malawi’s first woman president, and the third female head of state in Africa. Her predecessor, 78-year-old President Bingu wa Mutharika, died suddenly Thursday from a heart attack, the Associated Press reports.

Banda took her oath of office before parliament in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to much cheering and applause. She pledged to “defend and preserve the constitution,” accepting with “a great sense of humility and honour” “the huge responsibility” with which “the people of Malawi have entrusted me.”

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