The collapse of newly elected Zambian president Edgar Lungu during a Women’s Day event in Lusaka on Sunday, has sent shock waves in the southern African country which has lost two President’s in office within six years.
By Mabvuto Banda
Lungu’s predecessor Michael Sata was Zambia’s second leader to die in office in six years, sparking calls for presidential aspirants to undergo medical checks to guarantee their fitness.
“I don’t know what happens to our Presidents…am scared for Lungu now,” said Chomba Msonda a Lusaka resident.
Another Mrs Joyce Winga said she was in shock when she heard about what had happened to President Lungu.
“I was in shock and knelt down to pray. This evil should leave our country because we can’t go on like this…it’s scary,” she said.
Lungu, 58-year, was rushed to a military hospital, but the presidency later issued a statement saying he was receiving treatment for malaria but there was no need for concern.
“I am feeling much better and have been told I have high levels of fatigue and should take some rest,” Lungu was quoted as saying in the statement.
“There is nothing to worry about.” Lungu later told a press briefing at the hospital: “I am looking forward to going home.”
A diplomat in the capital Lusaka said that the donor community was concerned with what happened on Sunday.
“I think what happened to the President on Sunday has raised concern because of recent history in this country. we have cause for concern now an we urge government to give the President the much needed medical attention he may need,” said the western diplomat who asked for anonymity.
A statement on Monday from the Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s assistant, Amos Chanda, said medical tests ruled out a full malaria infection.
Chanda said further tests had shown that the president’s blood sugar levels had dropped significantly, which lead to his collapse.
The statement said Lungu has a history of a condition that narrows his esophagus, or food pipe, which led to his low sugar levels. Lungu will require immediate medical treatment abroad to correct the narrowing of his food pipe, Chanda said.
“Doctors have recommended that President Lungu undergoes a high-tech medical procedure, which is currently unavailable in Zambia and therefore he has been referred for specialised treatment abroad,” said Chanda.