PRESIDENT Michael Sata has accorded Mama Betty Kaunda a State funeral and declared a three-day period of national mourning in her honour.
And the former First Lady, who died in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, will be buried on Sunday at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali.
According to a statement by acting Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska, the period of national mourning would start at 06:00 hours today until Sunday 18:00 hours.
During the period of national mourning, all flags would fly at half-mast and activities of an entertainment nature should be postponed or cancelled.
Dr Msiska said the burial programme would be preceded by body viewing in Lusaka today at Mulungushi International Conference Centre starting at 10:00 hours.
"A requiem service will be held on Saturday at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross at 10:00 hours and thereafter the body of the former First Lady will be flown to Chinsali in readiness for burial on Sunday," he said.
And a sombre mood yesterday gripped Kenneth Kaunda International Airport when President Sata led hundreds of mourners to receive the body of Mama Betty who died in Harare where she had gone to visit her daughter.
The body arrived at 13:55 hours in the midst of wailing people who thronged the airport.
Mr Sata hugged and comforted the grieving former President, Kenneth Kaunda after he disembarked from the plane.
Dr Kaunda broke down as the body was brought out of an Air Zimbabwe plane while the Zambia Army brass band played solemn music.
The casket draped in the Zambian flag was carried by Zambia Army officers to a hearse before proceeding to the funeral house in State Lodge area.
Mr Sata and veteran politician Grey Zulu spent some moments to render comfort to Dr Kaunda as he mourned his late wife of 66 years, as other mourners and close relatives followed suit.
Dr Kaunda was accompanied from Zimbabwe by South Africa's Gauteng Province Speaker Lindiwe Maseko, Zambian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Ndiyoyi Mutiti and High Commissioner to South Africa, Muyeba Chikonde.
The Zimbabwean Government sent a delegation of 15 Government officials to accompany Dr Kaunda and family members in bringing Mama Betty Kaunda's remains to Zambia.
Others present at the airport were MMD leader Nevers Mumba, former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya, Members of Parliament from different political parties and a cross section of people from different walks of life.
Meanwhile, more messages of condolences have continued to pour in with Queen Elizabeth paying tribute to Mrs Kaunda for her commitment to serving Zambia.
Veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga, Eastern Province Anglican Diocese Bishop William Mchombo, Council of Churches in Zambia general secretary Suzanne Matale and senior citizen Tom Mtine also sent their messages of condolences.
Mama Betty, 83, died in the early hours of Wednesday in Zimbabwe.
The couple had in August this year celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary at a private function at their residence in State Lodge area.
Mama Betty was born Beatrice Kaweche Banda in Chinsali on November 17, 1928 and grew up in Mpika.
Her father was Kaweche Banda while her mother was Milika Sakala Banda.
She went to school at Mbereshi Girls and worked as a teacher in Mufulira after her training at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Kitwe.
In May this year, she was bestowed with the 2010 'Virtuous Women' award by the Generation Impact Foundation in appreciation of her contribution to the liberation from colonial rule.
She is survived by eight children, 38 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
Later, President Sata, accompanied by some Government officials, visited the funeral house where he arrived at 16:35 hours and left around 18:45 hours.