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Politics | Society

Mourners restricted for Mwanawasa's burial

afrol News, 2 September - Zambian government has restricted number of mourners to attend Church service and burial of the country's late president Mwanawasa.

Mr Mwanawasa died on 19 August at Percy Military Hospital in Paris. He had battled poor health for many years before he suffered a stroke in late June in Egypt, where he was to attend an African Union summit. He was initially treated in Egypt and later flown to France.

According to officials burial will be tomorrow at burial site of Embassy park in Lusaka and some roads will be closed to facilitate funeral procession.

Secretary to Cabinet Joshua Kanganja was quoted as saying numbers have been restricted to ensure an orderly and dignified Church service and burial of late president.

Mr Kanganja said that members of public were therefore encouraged to stay at home and watch proceedings on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation television as events would be transmitted live.

According to officials, to have an orderly, solemn and dignified Church service and burial, number of mourners that could attend would be limited.

"I wish to take this opportunity to urge members of public who, because of space and other logistical reasons, will not be able to attend Church service and burial to bear with government and allow for a dignified burial of late president," said Mr Kanganja.

Roads to be closed include Great East Road from Katima Mulilo round about to Manda Hill Foot Bridge, Independence Avenue from Church Road junction to Nationalist Road junction and Haile Selasse from United Nations Road junction to high court turn off, said Lusaka town clerk Timothy hakuyu.

He said other roads to be affected are Kwacha, Addis Ababa Drive and Chikwa, suggesting that motorists use alternative routes during period of procession and drive with care.

President Mwanawasa's body will today be taken to Supreme Court for a valedictory service before being taken to State House where it will lie in state ahead of tomorrow's burial about 11:00 a.m. local time, said officials.

In April 2006, he suffered a minor stroke four months before general elections, in which he won his second presidential term.

According to Zambia's constitution, Zambia's presidential by election will be held within 90 days from the death of President.

Zambia has started process of vetting prospective candidates to fill-in shoes of the late president. The presidential term is five years, but next president will complete remainder of Mr Mwanawasa's term before seeking re-election for another five years in 2011.

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