Prominent women’s rights campaigner and, until now, vice president Joyce Banda has been sworn in as Malawi’s president. She is now southern Africa’s first female head of state.
Malawi's new President Joyce Banda delivers a speech at her inauguration. Banda offered the conciliatory words following two days of political intrigue in which Mutharika's inner circle tried to block her assuming the post, which fell to her as vice president under the terms of the constitution. [AFP Photo/Stephane de Sakutin]
The event has raised hopes for a fresh start in the small, poor nation following the death of her predecessor.
Banda had served as vice president under Bingu wa Mutharika - who died on Thursday following a heart attack. Banda took the oath of office on Saturday in the National Assembly in the capital Lilongwe.
Opposition leaders had called for her to be swiftly sworn in as head of state and some 20 members of the national governing council of Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party also expressed their support. Banda has said she has already held a "good meeting" with Mutharika’s cabinet.