Apr. 7 - Malawian Vice President Banda takes control of country after president dies of heart attack, amid opposition from ruling party. Sarah Wali reports.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MALAWAI STATE TELEVISION NEWSREADER, SAYING: "It is with most profound grief, greatest sorrow and reverential acceptance f God's will that the office of the president and cabinet announces to the Malawi nation the untimely passing of his Excellency Professor Ngwazi Bingu Wa Mutharika." Two days after the 78-year-old president died of a heart attack, Vice-President Joyce Banda takes charge of the impoverished southern African country, despite fears of opposition, and declares a period of official mourning. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MALAWI VICE-PRESIDENT JOYCE BANDA SAYING: "I wish to direct that all national flags at public buildings be flown at half-mast and that the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and private media of good will, will play sombre music as we honour this mourning period which is for 10 days." Once the transfer of power is done, she will be the first female leader in southern Africa. Banda, a woman rights activist, faces opposition from the ruling DPP party, from which she was booted in 2010 after an argument of succession. It is believed that the late president was grooming his brother and Foreign Minister Peter Matharika for succession. Mutharika came into power in 2004 and was reelected in 2009 on a platform of economic growth and food for the poor. But before his death, many blamed him for chronic food, fuel and foreign exchange shortages. Sarah Wali, Reuters