Malawi's new president has made numerous breaks from her autocratic predecessor but few will be this popular: she has dumped his presidential jet and fleet of luxury cars.
Joyce Banda, who came to power in April after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, has barely paused in her drive to overturn his controversial policies and lifestyle.
Her decision to sell or lease the impoverished country's £8.4m presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes government cars seems likely to cement domestic goodwill – and confirm her as a darling of the west.
Britain, Malawi's biggest aid donor, announced on Friday that Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, had raised the issue of the Dassault Falcon 900EX jet with Banda at a private meeting with the new government. Mitchell said: "At a time of austerity in both Britain and Malawi, president Banda's decision to sell or lease the presidential jet and expensive fleet of cars sends an enormously encouraging signal to British taxpayers and the international community about the seriousness President Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous government.
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