Evariste Ndayishimiye has been was sworn in as the new president of Burundi after the sudden death of his predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza.
Ndayishimiye, 52, a retired army general, won last month’s presidential election for the ruling party, defeating the opposition’s Agathon Rwasa and five others. Before Nkurunziza died earlier this month, he had been due to be sworn in to office in August.
The event took place at the state Ingoma in Gitega, the political capital of the country. The venue was packed as the president took his oath and went through the motions of accepting his official instruments of office.
A 21-gun salute rang out after he signed the pledge before the seven members of the constitutional court and took a tour of the stadium before the cheering crowd.
Before taking the oath, Ndayishimiye knelt surrounded by the leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, evangelical and Muslim faiths, who prayed for him.
“Understand that you are a son of God and as such must bring peace among Burundians, you know how much we need it,” said the Catholic archbishop of Gitega, Simon Ntamwana.
Ndayishimiye in a victory speech had appealed to Burundian refugees scattered in different countries to return home to build their country.
He also urged Burundian people to safeguard peace and security and to respect each other in their diversity.
Ndayishimiye also called on the international community to support Burundi.
Burundi’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and most of the citizens live in poverty