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Zambians Mourn Late President

The body of Zambia's late President Levy Mwanawasa has been flown home from France, where he died this week in a Paris hospital. The nation's leaders and other mourners greeted the plane bearing the body of Mr. Mwanawasa as it arrived today at the airport outside the capital, Lusaka. People from all walks of life lined the streets as the coffin was taken to Lusaka's main conference center, where it will lie in state before being taken on a tour of nine provincial cities. A state funeral is planned for September 3rd, Mr. Mwanawasa's birthday.

The country’s Secretary to the Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja has announced that a full program for a state funeral is being finalized and will be announced later.

Mr. Mwanawasa died Tuesday in Paris where he was being treated for a stroke he suffered in June. He was 59 years old.

Zambian broadcast journalist Sanday Chongo Kabange, speaking with VOA’s Akwei Thompson from the capital Lusaka, said the mood in the country is somber as Zambians mourn their late president.

“Lusaka city, the capital of Zambia has been very, very quiet, business has completely come to a halt. You can only hear solemn music playing…”

Kabange said the “people of Zambia are united” for now as they mourn their late president, Levy Mwanawasa.