Malawi Buries Late President

Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Malawians have buried late president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died of a heart attack earlier this month.

Several African presidents attended the funeral Monday in Mr. Mutharika's home district , including the presidents of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania.

New Malawian President Joyce Banda said she would try to build on her predecessor's record of economic growth.

“President wa Mutharika spent most of his life in dedication to making Malawi a better country, and on his passing, I want to pledge that I will do all my best to indeed follow what he wanted to achieve: To move this country from poverty to prosperity.”

Ms. Banda, the former vice president, had broken with Mr. Mutharika before his death, but rose to the presidency as directed in the country's constitution.

Mr. Mutharika was elected president of Malawi in 2004 and won re-election in 2009.

He was credited with improving food security in Malawi and, at one time, making his country a political and economic model for other African countries.

In recent years, the national economy stumbled and unemployment rose sharply, and critics accused the late president of autocratic behavior.

Nineteen people were killed last July in anti-government protests.