Council to stand in for sick Banda

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The Independent Online
BLANTYRE (Reuter) - A presidential council has been appointed to run Malawi while President Hastings Banda, who is in his nineties, recovers from brain surgery in South Africa. The ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said the council would be headed by Gwanda Chakuamba, who party leader a week ago.

Other members of the council are the Minister of State in the President's Office, John Tembo, and the Transport and Communications Minister, Robson Chirwa. The MCP was Malawi's only legal party until it lost a referendum in June. A multi-party election is planned for May.

A clinic spokesman in Johannesburg said Dr Banda, one of Africa's longest-ruling heads of state, will probably stay in hospital for at least another week. South Africa's Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, visited Dr Bandayesterday. Doctors operated on him on 3 October to drain excess brain fluid.