Banda, Joyce Hilda

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Joyce Hilda Banda, 1950–, Malawian political leader, b. Nyasaland (now Malawi). First elected to parliament in 1999 as a member of the United Democratic Front, she was named minister for gender and community services under President Bakili Muluzi. In 2006 she became foreign minister under President Bingu wa Mutharika. As a member of the Democratic Progressive party (DPP) she ran as Mutharika's running mate in 2009 and was elected vice president. Expelled from the DPP (Dec., 2010) by Mutharika because she refused to endorse his plan to have his brother succeed him as president, she founded the People's party in 2011. After Mutharika died in 2012, she succeeded him despite attempts by the cabinet to block her accession. A strong supporter of women's rights, she has won national and international awards for her work with women and children in education, reproductive health, and economic empowerment. She failed to win reelection in 2014, and was succeeded by Peter Mutharika, her predecessor's brother.