Malawians deserve better – JB

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The leader of Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, recounts to Aljazeera how she fought to protect her country’s democracy.

Joyce Banda is Malawi’s first female president, and only the second woman to lead an African country.

She took over when President Bingu wa Mutharika died in office in April 2012.

But even though she was vice president, there were some who challenged her right to the top job leading to a tense 48 hours, where the country teetered on the edge of violence.

Her elevation was only secured when the army agreed it would back the constitution.

Born in 1950, near the southern town of Zomba, by the age of 25 she was living with her husband in Kenya. But took the decision to leave with her three children to escape what she describes as an abusive marriage.

Banda spent 12 years running and creating a number of businesses in Malawi and her success drove her to set up the National Association of Businesswomen, a group that lends money to small-scale traders.

She also esablished the Joyce Banda Foundation that assists Malawian children and orphans through education.

She moved into politics in 1999 and won a seat in parliament, and went on to hold a number of cabiniet positions before being elected the country’s vice president in 2009.

In 2011, the president tried unsuccessfully to have her removed from her post.

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Joyce Banda recounts how she fought to protect the country’s democracy and constitutional order.

President Banda also outlines her program for bringing the country growth and her thoughts on China’s expansion of its interests in Africa.

And she talks about Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese leader, who had to cancel his trip to an African Union (AU) meeting in Malawi, due to Banda’s refusal to protect him against any warrants against his arrest for crimes against humanity.

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