Lusaka, Oct 31 (IANS) Messages of condolences on the death of Zambian late president Michael Sata continued pouring here Thursday, with the latest coming from the heads of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU).
Sata, 77, died Tuesday night at London's King Edward VII Hospital where he had gone for medical check-ups, Xinhua reported.
In separate statements, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma expressed sadness over the death of Sata and expressed their "deep condolences" to his family and the Zambian government.
Ban, who paid tribute to Sata's commitment to addressing the needs of Zambians and his vision for the country, hoped that the country will pursue its long record of smooth and orderly presidential transitions.
"The United Nations will continue to support Zambia in its efforts to promote inclusive development and democratic rule," he added.
On her part, the AU chief said the late Zambian leader will be remembered for his frankness and forthrightness during debates within and outside the African continent.
She further added that Sata actively participated in the activities of the African body.
"While the continent sorrowfully joins the first family, the government and people of Zambia in mourning president Sata, I have asked that the flags fly at half-mast at the African Union headquarters," she said.
Meanwhile, four Zambian ministers have departed for London to make arrangements for the repatriation of Sata's body for burial.
Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, Gender Minister Inonge Wina and Tourism Minister Jean Kapata left for London Thursday morning, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
The state broadcaster could however not state when the body will arrive in the country.
On Wednesday, interim leader Guy Scott said a detailed programme will soon be announced regarding the burial of Sata, who ruled Zambia from Sep 2011 until the time of his death.