Heroes ready for Sata send-off

THE National Heroes Stadium is ready to host the requiem mass for President Michael Sata who died in London on Tuesday last week, says Chief and Traditional Affairs minister Nkandu Luo.

In an interview Luo said this yesterday after leading a powerful delegation to inspect the preparedness of the stadium to ensure that it was safe to accommodate the multitudes expected to attend the requiem mass on Tuesday next week.

Mr Sata was patron of the Football Association of Zambia.

Luo, who was accompanied by several deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, senior police officers and other senior Government officials, said the visit to the National Heroes Stadium was a success as it had helped them plan well before the requiem mass on Tuesday.

“We are almost there; this is one reason we came here to have a meeting on site and look at what challenges we may have and from our assessment the only challenge we may have is making sure that it is clear and has enough people on the site.

“ In terms of the capacity, this place has the capacity to hold 55, 000 people and we think it will be adequate for the huge number of people who will come,” said Luo.

She said that Government had put in place a system where the crowd will be accommodated according to first come first served basis.Luo explained that security officers and other staff would man the gates in order to maintain peace and order at the ceremony expected to be attended by eight Heads of State and many foreign dignitaries.

“We don’t want to have an overload because we are not going to allow anybody to sit on the lawn or the tarmac or the field. That place is reserved for  casket and the men in uniform who will be doing the parade. So everybody will be up in the stands seated and watching the proceedings,” said Pro. Luo.

The Munali constituency parliamentarian described President Sata as a man of action, adding that he knew what he wanted to achieve in his tenure as President.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya led staff at Football House in paying their last respects to President Sata at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre where the President’s body has been lying in state since last Saturday when it arrived from London.

Bwalya remained mute in grief as he paid his last respect to a man to whom he presented the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations trophy after the Chipolopolo national soccer team won it in Gabon.

Among notables in the Kalu team to pay their last respects, was Chipolopolo coach Honour Janza.