Body of Late Malawi President to Return Thursday

Posted April 9th, 2012 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
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Malawi says the body of late president Bingu wa Mutharika will arrive back in the country Thursday.

The Office of President and Cabinet said Mr. Mutharika's body will return from South Africa, where he was taken after suffering a heart attack last week.

Meanwhile, the late president's party has named his brother, Peter Mutharika, as its leader. The move comes amid several high-profile defections from the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

As of Sunday, 24 members of parliament had switched to the People's Party of President Joyce Banda, who was sworn into office on Saturday. The defections include the deputy speaker of parliament and the country's labor minister.

Also Sunday, President Banda replaced Malawi's national police chief, but did not give a reason for the move.

Ms. Banda is Malawi's first female president and served as vice president under Mr. Mutharika.