It's hard to keep everyone happy when you're throwing a party. Take future president, Jacob Zuma's May 9 inauguration.

There will certainly be some people who may feel very let down by not receiving an invitation.

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, may be getting used to being snubbed by South Africa - he's not invited - but some African heads of state will have to learn that not everyone can be on the A-list.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is one name that does not feature, according to sources.

But since he is considered a fugitive from the International Criminal Court (ICC), accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his country's Darfur region, he would have risked arrest if he attended the ceremony that will be held at the Union Buildings in Tshwane (Pretoria).

South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the ICC, meaning that it would have been obliged to arrest Al-Bashir and hand him over to the court at the Hague in the Netherlands for trial if he turned up, even if the government, like those of most other African countries, was opposed to his being indicted.

Among other African heads of state unlikely to have been included are the leaders of Madagascar, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, because all are seen as having ascended to power in their countries through undemocratic means.

As for the big question as to which of Zuma's wives will accompany the ANC leader on his big day, his daughter Duduzile, who has often accompanied him to formal functions, appears to be the most likely contender to be on her father's arm on the day.

The guest list for the gala event, which is expected to feature special touches indicating the individual flavour of Zuma, will certainly include Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and other African leaders.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has also received an invitation, but government spokesman Themba Maseko said on Monday the list of those who have sent their RSVPs has yet to be finalised.

What is certain is that the inauguration will see many heads of state from all corners of the world, as well as premiers, local royalty and representatives from bodies such as the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern Africa Development Community.

Ordinary South Africans will also be there, with tens of thousands expected to be bused in on the day, to take their place on the Union Building's lawns to celebrate Zuma's inauguration as the next head of government.

For those who cannot attend, the event will be broadcast live on TV and on 100 plasma screens set up across the country.

Some of the country's top musicians are expected to perform in a live concert for the crowds on the lawns, while the dignitaries enjoy lunch, but Maseko wasn't saying just who will be in the line-up.

"Negotiations are still going on at the moment," Maseko said.

The evening usually sees a glittering event for the luminaries, hosted by the president.