Famous Person

Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda

Fourth President of Malawi

She was the first female President in Malawi (second in Africa)

Year of Birth  12 April 1950
Place of Birth Zomba, Malawi
Period of Presidency 2012-2014
Political Parties People’s Party (PP)

Main Political Career

2004-06 Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services
2006-09 Minister of Foreign Affairs
2009-12 Vice President of Malawi
2012-14 President of Malawi

Personal and Family Life

Joyce Hilda Banda nee Joyce Hilda Mtila was born on 12 April 1950 in the Zomba District of Nyasaland (now Malawi).

She married Roy Kachale with whom she had three children.

At the age of 25, she was living in Nairobi, Kenya with her husband.

A growing women’s movement in Kenya motivated Banda to take her three children and leave what she described as an abusive marriage.

Her marriage to Roy Kachele ended in 1981.

She is now married to Richard Banda, retired Chief Justice of Malawi with whom she has two children.

Between 1985 and 1997, Banda founded and directed various businesses and organisations including a garment-manufacturing business, a bakery and the National Association of Business Women of Malawi, a group that lends start-up cash to small scale traders.

She established the Joyce Banda Foundation dedicated to rural development and improving the lives of women and children.

Throughout her career, she also received awards and accolades including the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Unger in 1997 and being named TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2013.

Educational Background

She holds a Cambridge School Certificate, a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbus University (an unaccredited distance education institution), a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies from the Atlantic International University in Hawaii, a diploma in Management of NGOs from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centre in Turin, Italy and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University in Canada.

She received an honorary doctorate in 2013 from Jeonju University.

Political Career

Joyce Banda entered politics in 1999.

Muluzi named her a Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services in 2004.

In the 2004 presidential election, she was re-elected to the National Assembly as a member of United Democratic Front (UDF).

Next year, she moved to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) formed by President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Even through Banda was not a member of Mutharika’s party, he appointed her as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006.

In her various ministerial capacities, she designed the Zero Tolerance Campaign Against Child Abuse and established relations with mainland China.

Banda was Mutharika’s running mate in the 2009 presidential election and won election as Malawi’s first female vice-president.

On 12 December 2010, Joyce Banda was fired as the vice-presidents of the DPP for undefined ‘unti-party’ activities because of Mutharika’s attempts to position his own brother, Peter Mutharika, as his successor, but she continued to serve as vice president as mandated by the Malawian constitution.

In April 2011 she founded the People’s Party (PP) after Banda was expelled from the ruling DPP.

Presidency (2012-2014)

After Mutharika’s death on 5 April 2012, Banda was appointed as the fourth president of Malawi as mandated by the constitution, which allows the vice president to take over the presidency when the president is incapable of governing a country.

During Mutharika’s presidency, Malawi was left in a poor economic situation due to foreign relations under the Mutharika administration.

Britain, the United States, Germany, Norway, the European Union, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank had all suspended financial aid.

Banda launched a diplomatic offensive to improve Malawi’s international relations and donors resumed the flow of funding to Malawi.

On 18 May 2012, Banda announced her intention to overturn Malawi’s law that banned homosexual activities.

She was the few African presidents who support gay rights.

On the advice of the International Monetary Fund, Banda devalued the Malawian Kwacha by 33 percent against the United States dollar in May 2012.

In June 2012, she sold off a USD15 million presidential jet and a fleet of 60 luxury cars purchased by the former president, Bingu wa Mutharika and cut her own salary by 30 percent.

On 17 January 2013, thousands of Malawians protested in Blantyre against rising inflation after Banda, joined by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, defended the devaluation of the kwacha and said she would not reverse the decision.

On 10 October 2013, she dissolved her entire cabinet following the Capital Hill Cash-gate scandal.

The total amount of government funds allegedly lost through corruption and fraud was estimated to be USD100m-USD250m.

While Banda cited cash-gate as an example of how she was tackling corruption, Joyce Banda was heavily defeated in the presidential election in May 2014.

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