Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda has been sworn as the countryâ€™s new leader, following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika.
Banda will become Malawi’s first female leader, two days after a heart attack killed 78-year-old Mutharika.
The swearing in ceremony of Banda took place at around 17:25 PM at Malawi’s ParliamentÂ building in the capital, Lilongwe.
In her maiden speech after being sworn in as president Banda appealed for calm as the country mourns Mutharika. She has since declared 10 days of mourning.
â€œBecause of what has happened in our nation, this nation has lost its president, I would like to ask all of us to stand and pay respect to his [Mutharikaâ€™s] soul.
I appeal to the nation to mourn our former president with dignity,â€ said Banda.
She said she hadÂ met the DPP Cabinet in the afternoon Saturday andÂ believe the process of healing the nation has started.
â€œA Cabinet meeting took place this afternoon and I felt the Holy Spirit in there, I believe the process of healing the nation has started.
I just sincerely hope there is no room for revenge. I just sincerely hope that we shall stand united,â€ said the President.
President Banda later inspected the presidential guard of honour and received the 21 gun salute from the Army.
Banda has taken over power after two days of backroom political wrangling with Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which expelled her in 2010 when he decided to groom his brother Peter Mutharika as his successor.
Banda now heads her own People’s Party (PP), which has emerged as a fierce critic of Mutharika’s handling of the troubled economy.