LUSAKA, Oct 30 – Zambian president Michael Sata, who died in London this week, will be buried in Lusaka on November 11, after the repatriation of his remains, the government announced Thursday.,
The country was observing a second day of mourning for Sata, nicknamed “King Cobra” for his sharp rhetoric, who died only days after Zambia celebrated half a century of independence.
His body will be returned to Zambia on Saturday, said Roland Msiska, secretary to the cabinet.
His remains will then lie in state at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre where Zambians can pay their respects before the funeral.
Sata, 77, died on Tuesday while undergoing treatment in London’s private King Edward VII hospital for an unspecified illness.
For months, officials in the southern African nation repeatedly denied that he was sick.
Sata will be buried at Embassy Park cemetery which is situated across the road from the government offices in Lusaka’s Long Acres suburb.
The graveyard is reserved for heads of state and two of Zambia’s former leaders Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa are buried there.
Acting President Guy Scott will lead Sata’s family members, government and military officials, to receive the body when it is flown back home.
Scott has become pending elections Africa’s first white head of state since South Africa’s apartheid era.
Fresh elections to pick a new president must be held within three months after Sata’s death.
Four cabinet members, among them Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba and Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, who is also Sata’s uncle, have travelled to London to collect his body.
From the airport, the body will be taken to the conference centre where Scott will lay a wreath during a brief ceremony.
The public will be allowed to view the body from Sunday until November 9 and parliament will host a thanksgiving ceremony on November 10.
Books of condolences are to be opened Friday at government offices in the capital, in provinces and at Zambian embassies abroad.