Africa pays last respects to Zambian president

LUSAKA - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is one of the more than 14 African heads of state and leaders who will attend the burial of President Levy Mwanawasa today, Zambian foreign minister Kabinga Pande said yesterday.

LUSAKA - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is one of the more than 14 African heads of state and leaders who will attend the burial of President Levy Mwanawasa today, Zambian foreign minister Kabinga Pande said yesterday.

Mwanawasa had been an arch-critic of Mugabe, once referring to Zimbabwe as a "sinking Titanic".

"We have confirmation from 14 heads of state that they will attend the burial," Pande said.

Most of them were due to arrive in the capital Lusaka last night, while South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame are expected today.

Mbeki will be accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an official statement from Pretoria said.

Mwanawasa, 59, who died in a Paris hospital on August 19 after suffering a stroke, will be buried in the capital Lusaka at Embassy Park, outside the presidential secretariat.

Mwanawasa was until his death chairman of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, and one of the few African leaders to speak out against the policies of the Zimbabwean president.

Mbeki took over the leadership of the organisation last month. - Sapa-AFP

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