Government back-pedals – No big TV screens for Sata funeral viewing

In the usual uncoordinated way, government has changed the earlier decision to put big TV screens for viewers to follow late President Michael Sata’s funeral proceedings which began on Saturday when the the body arrived from London.

And the Watchdog has been informed that the decision not to transport late Sata’s remains to all provincial centres for public body viewing was arrived at in order to avoid embarrassment from warring PF factions, all jostling to succeed the deceased leader.

In an address to the nation, Secretary to the cabinet Rowland Msiska announced that people should not travel to Lusaka and that government would position some big TV screens in strategic places in all the 10 provincial centres where people would follow the proceedings but during a meeting of provincial Permanent Secretaries and an emergency cabinet meeting last week, it was discovered that there were no arrangements for such.

A source close to cabinet has disclosed that Msiska was misled into believing that the Zambia National Information Services (ZANIS) had such facilities, when infact not.

Meanwhile it has been learnt that the PF initially had planned to transport Sata’s remains to all the provincial centres, as it was with late President Levy Mwanawasa to enable members of the public pay their last respects but rescinded the decision because of the warring factions. The source said that the party anticipated clashes between warring factions hence the decision to abandon the move and tell people to stay in their areas.

“We initially planned to transport the body to all provinceial centres but the internal confusion in the party could have led to embarrassment because warring cadres could have been fighting publicly, wanting to take control of the show. This is how the plan of big TV screens was mooted but then we thought ZANIS had these facilities atleast at provincial centres, and now it is too late we cannot order and expect them in the country before burial so there won’t be any public viewing unless miracles happen,” said the source.

Sata who died in a london hospital will be buried at Embassy Park on Tuesday next week.

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