Below is the President of Zambia, Michael Sata. He had been in office only three years when he passed away in a London hospital on the 28th of October 2014. He was 77 years old and his health had not been good for the eighteen months we have been in Zambia.
That photo was one I was given by a member of the church here but I failed to post it in my office. You can find the same photo all over town, in every shop it is framed as a reminder of who the current President is. We do not get involved in local politics in any way but as a Poli. Sci. major it has been really fascinating to be this close to African politics. Zambia is relatively small and so political maneuvering does not have as many layers as some larger nations.
All the flags were immediately lowered to half-mast.
His body was flown back to Lusaka and escorted to the Mulungushi Conference Center.
The Mission Home is only about four blocks from the main airport road. It is also only four blocks from the Parliament Building and just a little further from the Mulungushi Conference Center.
Zambia and the city of Lusaka entered into an official fourteen day period of mourning.
The conference center was opened to the public to pass by the open coffin and pay their respects.
Billboards were changed. Many companies joined in the expressions of sympathy for the first family.
In the Conference Center were many dignitaries and members of the family.
Citizens began to line up so they could pass by.
The mourners were shown endlessly on TV passing by.
We watched this before and after going to work at the mission office and decided to participate.
Fortunately, this kind of long line had not formed yet. This photo was taken days later.
Our experience was a very respectful atmosphere. We never saw any other white folks except the other two couples we went with. We moved as quickly as a pleasant walk right up to the casket where the line slowed down just a little as we each had a chance to look in on the body and then move on with our own thoughts about life and death and what the future held for Zambia.
In the two weeks of mourning his remains were moved several times.
Once to the parish he attended for a mass.
Another time to the State House where visiting dignitaries could pay their last respects.
Below is Pres. Mugabe of Zimbabwe passing by.
Zambia has done a good job of keeping the dignity surrounding Sata's death and disruption of power.
However, on November 11th the final goodbye was said at the new Heroes Stadium in town that held 80,000 people. After the funeral he was moved to the Embassy Park Memorial across from the State House where other Presidents have been buried.
Now that the mourning officially ends. The Maneuvering begins.
The Vice President of Zambia is Dr. Scott, a white native born Zambian. He is not eligible to be president because his parents were not native born Zambians. He will be the acting president for ninety days. Within ninety days there will be an election and Zambia will have a new President.
It will be an interesting process to see the different parties make a play for the top spot in Zambia.