THERE was confusion last night over whether Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa (59) had died in a French hospital.
The reports of his death, it would seem, were premature.
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki yesterday asked for a minute’s silence for Mwanawasa at a ceremony for those killed in a recent wave of attacks on foreigners in South Africa.
In a Reuters report, Mbeki said: “The executive secretary of Sadc called me to say the president of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa, had passed away this morning.”
But the foreign affairs department later issued a “clarification”:
“The South African Government has been informed that President Mwanawasa has not passed on.
“President Mbeki regrets the misunderstanding; and on behalf of the government and on his own behalf, wishes President Mwanawasa a speedy recovery.”
South African radio earlier quoted a spokesman who said he was from Zambia’s High Commission as saying Mwanawasa had died.
Zambia’s Vice-President Rupiah Banda said Mwanawasa had had a “satisfactory night (on Wednesday)” in Paris. He was flown there from Egypt, where he had suffered a stroke on Sunday ahead of an African Union summit.
Mwanawasa has come to international prominence recently for being critical of the violence in Zimbabwe. – BBC News.