The Zambian government reports that the body of President Michael Sata will return to the Southern African country from London on Saturday. President Sata was suffering from an undisclosed illness and died on Tuesday at King Edward VII Hospital. His funeral is scheduled for Nov. 11 in Lusaka, the nation's capital.
Sata was Zambia's fifth president since the nation gained independence from Britain in 1964 (it was called Northern Rhodesia at that time). He earned the nickname "King Cobra" for his unabashedly callous campaign strategies and had three unsuccessful presidential runs since 2001 before his election in 2011.
Zambia's constitution dictates that elections must be carried out within 90 days of the president's death. The Associated Press reports that Scott, a Zambian national of Scottish descent, is ineligible to run for the presidency because neither of his parents are Zambian.
Nonetheless, the interim president has made an appeal for calm as the nation mourns its president of three years.
"In times like this, there is both fragility and excitement. This combination can give terrible results unless great care is exercised," he told the Associated Press.