Joyce Banda shines in US publication


President Joyce Banda continues to shine on the global arena with the latest being her grabbing a top spot as one of the eight most fascinating Africans of 2012 as assessed by a US publication, The New Yorker.

Apart from the Malawi leader, the other president and politician appearing on the list is President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

In its December 7, 2012 publication The New Yorker, which started publishing in 1925, says Banda’s name has been on the minds of most African observers this past year, and with good reason.

The publication says Banda took office in April, after an epic power struggle in which the late former president’s allies who tried to block her from rightfully assuming the position, and she has since made a promising impression.

“She took a substantial pay cut, put the Presidential jet and cars up for sale, vowed to arrest the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, an accused war criminal, if he entered Malawi (a promise that several other African presidents have shied away from), and has spoken out against proposed anti-gay legislation,” says the publication.

It further says President Banda also has been a prominent advocate for women and children, famously leaving her first husband because he was abusive.

“The hype on Banda may be outsized—critics point out that her taking a pay cut and selling the jet and cars was necessary in a floundering economy—but I am eager to see more from her,” says the publication.

For Kagame to make on the list in some ways, the Rwandan President, the publication says, is the man of the moment as he is accused of helping to orchestrate a rebellion in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for political and material gain.

“Kagame has, despite considerable evidence, continued to deny involvement in some of the worst violence that has taken place in the country in years,” says the publication.

The person coming second after President Banda is Cameroonian lawyer Alice Nkom for her vocal gay-rights advocates in West Africa.

The third on the list is the director of one of this year’s most stunning films, “Nairobi Half Life,” Kenyan David Tosh Gitonga, for his second-ever official entry for the foreign-language Oscar as a Kenyan film.

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