Joyce Banda Is Now Malawi’s Head Of State

News reports confirm that Malawian Vice-President Joyce Banda took over the running of the southern African nation on Saturday night after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

There were fears of a succession struggle but these seem to have faded as state institutions backed the constitutional handover. The government only officially confirmed 78-year-old Mutharika’s death on Saturday, two days after he had died following a heart attack.

In a state broadcast Banda said-

“I call upon all Malawians to remain calm and to keep the peace during this time of bereavement,”

Banda made the announcement while flanked by members of the cabinet, the attorney general and the heads of the army and the police.

The turn of events ends speculation that the young brother of Bingu, Peter Wa Mutharika would take over running of the country ahead of Banda.

Banda is expected to run the country until scheduled elections take place in 2014.

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