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African Leaders Plan to Attend Funeral for Zambia President

Members of the Zambian Defence Forces and other government officials attend a ceremony to welcome the body of former Zambian President Michael Sata at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Nov.1, 2014.

Eight African heads of state have so far confirmed their participation in the funeral for Zambia’s deceased President Michael Sata. The leaders will say their final goodbyes when Sata is buried November 11, said Zambian information minister Joseph Katema.

The presidents who have confirmed their participation include Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Namibia’s Hifikepunya Pohamba, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Malawi’s Peter Arthur Mutharika, according to foreign ministry officials.

Katema said the administration in Lusaka reiterated its warning to citizens to desist from engaging in political activities until after the burial of Mr. Sata next week.

His comments came after the leaders of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party reinstated Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu as Secretary General of the PF after he was removed by acting President Guy Scott.

“We have discouraged or in fact we have suspended all political activities of any nature in the country until after the burial of the late president. That is when probably people can start participating in the political processes,” said Katema.

Katema said senior members of the PF decided to reverse Lungu’s removal in accordance with the government’s directive about political activities.

“That was a decision, which was made by the Central Committee of the ruling party in the same spirit… that it is best not to make any political at the moment in time, until we bury our president,” said Katema.

He said the funeral program for the late president is proceeding smoothly despite reports of tension within the rank and file of the governing PF party.

“The program is going on well [and] right now people are being accorded the chance to pay their last respect to the former head of state and they are coming in numbers,” said Katema.

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