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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Change of plans..

The Government has altered the plans for state funeral of the Late President. It will now be 21 days of national mourning instead of the original seven, and the government now wants to take the body all over the country. As we are being reminded, this is the first time Zambia has lost a seating President, and it appears the Cabinet is struggling with the details. Moving the President all over the country does not seem wise to me, it almost seems like a sort of electioneering process, dominated am sure by local party cadres. Also extending the burial period just creates more paralysis for our institutions, and more cover for bad news. Also the more time is extended the less time to focus on the electorial contest - sounds bad, but having a proper voting process is just as critical as ensuring the burial takes place properly. It would have been better if the reasoning behind the process was explained in full and the extent to which they Cabinet has considered the opportunity costs (including financial ones). Full statement below:

State Funeral Arrangements for the Late President of The Republic of Zambia, Dr. Levy P Mwanawasa SC,

The Cabinet has extended the period of mourning for the Late President of the Republic of Zambia Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa to 21 days. The decision was made at a Special Cabinet meeting held at Government House in Lusaka today, Thursday, (21st August 2008).

The Cabinet considered operational and logistical requirements including the transportation of the body from Paris to Lusaka, the taking of the body to Provincial Centres in Zambia and for the burial to coincide with what would have been the late President’s 60th birthday on 3rd September 2008.

I wish to advise the nation that:

  1. Upon the body’s arrival at Lusaka International Airport, there will be a Guard of Honour and a Presidential Salute. The body will thereafter be transported to Mulungushi International Conference Centre where it will lie-in-state.
  2. Between Monday, 25th August 2008, and Friday, 29th August 2008, the body will be taken to Provincial Capitals and on return to Lusaka will lie-in-state at Mulungushi Conference Centre up to 2nd September 2008 and thereafter the body will lie-in-state at State House until the burial ceremony on Wednesday, 3rd September 2008.
  3. Close relatives of the first family will gather at the residence in State House.
  4. Members of the public will gather at the Lusaka Show Grounds during the period of mourning and those wishing to pay their last respects will do so at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre and in the Provinces.

A detailed programme of the state funeral will be published in the media.


21st AUGUST 2008


  1. I do agree. Changing of mind is indicative of not being decisive. Didn't they think it through? Dilly dallying,"I have changed my mind" is not sending a good message. Also the idea of shipping the body around the country, would be unnecessarily too expensive. That money could be used to improve hospitals. Also, if I may say, the decision making process is quickly resembling the old "UNIP & its government" days. Apparently productivity loss is not important in our government's eyes.

  2. I think going forward, the new government should do more to level with the Zambian people. We need better explanations of how decisions are made and the analysis that underpins those decision. Its quite obvious these decisions are made with political calculations in mind. Any government would do that.


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