Acting President Guy Scott must recommence Cabinet meetings to, among other things, oversee the funeral programme of President Michael Sata, says former Solwezi Central member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa.
He said it was the responsibility of Cabinet to ensure the funeral programme followed the mandatory protocols befitting a Republican President instead of what transpired during the arrival of Mr Sata’s body at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Saturday, where there was disorder.
“Cabinet must resume meetings immediately and put an ad hoc committee in place. It is about giving the State President a dignified send-off and safeguarding the reputation of our ability to manage national affairs competently,” he said.
Mr Mulusa said there was clear disorganisation and incompetence in the management of the President’s funeral so far and if these inconsistencies were noticed by the Rating Agencies and international observers, they would have far-reaching implications on the country. Mr Mulusa said what was at stake should not just be a scheme to take over power in the PF, but also to honour the memory of President Sata.
He also questioned the authority with which Secretary to the Cabinet had to announce the death of a Head of State when both the acting President and the Vice President were present.
Mr Mulusa charged that there was no visible person tasked with protocol duties at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport during the arrival of Mr Sata’s remains, except for the men in uniform. “Was it right to suspend Cabinet meetings during this time? If so, who will review the shortcomings in the programme and put corrective measures in place?
“Was it okay to cancel the Mulungushi programme on Saturday in the afternoon without informing the guests? I personally saw diplomats including the Vatican Pro-Nucio turning up at the Conference Centre only to find there was nothing happening despite the announced programme,” he said.
Mr Mulusa said the absence of protocol officers at the airport and Mulungushi International Conference Centre and the lack of alternative public information on changes to the programme exhibited Government’s mishandling of the event.
He said there was no difference between what happened during the arrival of President Sata’s body and what obtained when the remains of an ordinary person was being received by close friends and relatives, “neither was there anyone guiding the Acting President through the rituals of his duties at such an occasion”.