Joyce Banda, who had been vice president in the Malawian parliament since 2009, was cheered and applauded after becoming southern Africa's first female president. Her ceremony was a pure celebration of the change in their government. Yet, after taking the oath before parliament, Banda has overcome some interesting odds. Banda was sworn in after President Bingu wa Mutharika passed away last Thursday, despite the fact that Banda was expelled from Mutharika's ruling DPP party in 2010.

Speculation grew that the late president's inner circle was trying to circumvent Malawi's constitution to prevent Ms. Banda from taking over and install his brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, instead. Upon her inauguration as president, Ms. Banda pledged to "defend and preserve the constitution" and to do right to all manner of people, according to law.