The remains of Malawi's late president Bingu wa Mutharika arrived in the capital Lilongwe Saturday from South Africa, where his body had been taken secretly to be embalmed.
Thousands of Malawians waited with new President Joyce Banda as the South African military aircraft touched down at Kamuzu International Airport shortly after 1415 local time (1215 GMT).
A 21-gun salute sounded as South African military personnel handed Mutharika's brown casket draped with the Malawi flag to Malawi Defence Force officers on the airport tarmac of the airport. The armed forces mounted a guard of honour for Mutharika as a military brass band played sombre music.
Mutharika's body was secretly flown to South Africa after a fatal heart attack on April 5. His supporters will be able to pay respects to his remains on Monday at the parliament building before the body is taken to the northern city of Mzuzu and the commercial hub of Blantyre.
He will buried on April 23 at a family mausoleum on his personal farm 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Blantyre.