The body of Zambian late President Levy Mwanawasa who died in Paris last week arrived in Lusaka on Saturday, one day earlier than scheduled.
Gross-roots Zambians flooded the Mulungushi International Conference Center (MICC) in the capital to pay their last respects.
"He instilled disciplines in his ministers and because of this the country has taken a new direction in terms of development. He tirelessly fought corruption and brought sanity in the running of government affairs," said a Zambian worker named Chris Sinkamba.
Advertising agent Grey Simbwende regarded Mwanawasa as "the most hard-working" of the three presidents in Zambia's history.
"Though he was not in good health from the time he became president, he was dedicated to duty," he said.
Citizens also expressed concerns over whether the death of Mwanawasa will derail the country's rush into prosperity.
"It is bad that we have lost a leader who had a vision for the country, said Duncan Silwimba, a Lusaka city gardener," I am afraid that the next leader will not have the same vision,"
Mwanawasa, 59, who won a second term a couple of years ago, died on Aug.19 after suffering a stroke on the eve of an African Union summit in Egypt.
The body will be taken to provincial capitals for the nation to honor before burial on Sept. 3, which would have been Mwanawasa's 60th birthday.