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Zambian President's Remains Return Home

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.

The remains of Zambia's late president return to the country Saturday.

Michael Sata died Tuesday in a hospital in London from an unspecified illness.

Information Minister Joseph Katema says the president's body will lie in state in Lusaka's Mulungushi Conference Hall and a state funeral will be held November 11.

For months, officials in the southern African nation had repeatedly denied that Sata was sick, despite making several trips abroad for medical help.

Sata led Zambia since winning an election in 2011 that ended the 20 years of rule by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy party. It was his fourth attempt to become president.

FILE - Zambia's new interim president is Guy Scott.
FILE - Zambia's new interim president is Guy Scott.

Zambian Vice President Guy Scott says a presidential election will be held within 90 days.

''It is essential that we all, every one of us, ensure that we all remain fully disciplined, temperate and patriotic at this time," he said. "As acting President for 90 days or less, hopefully if we move ahead with the elections, my legacy will be a free and peaceful election and a smooth transition to our newly elected President."

Scott is not eligible to run for president because his parents were from Scotland. Last week, however, the Zambian government presented lawmakers with a new draft constitution that would eliminate the Zambian-born parent requirement for candidates.

Scott has become sub-Saharan African's first white leader in 20 years after being named interim president following the Sata's death.