from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE hospitalisation of Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, heightens the apprehension prevailing in the Southern African country that is enduring weeks of uncertainty and volatility.
On Monday, the office of the veteran statesman (aged 97) disclosed he had been admitted to a hospital in the capital, Lusaka.
His ailment was not disclosed.
“The office and family of the First President wish to inform the general public that His Excellency Dr. Kenneth D. Kaunda First President of the Republic of Zambia has been unwell and was admitted in Hospital at Maina Soko Medical Centre,” Kaunda’s administrative, Rodrick Ngolo, stated.
“His Excellency Dr. Kaunda is requesting all Zambians and the international community to pray for him as the medical team is doing everything possible to ensure that he recovers,” Ngolo added.
Anxious Zambians wished the former president well on Monday.
Coincidentally, Kaunda’s hospitalisation comes a day after health concerns about the current head of state, Edgar Lungu (64).
He collapsed after suffering what his office described as dizziness as he presided over the 45th commemoration of the Defence Forces Day.
Lungu later on Sunday assured the nation he was well and resumed his duties.
The last documented hospitalisation of Kaunda was in 2017 when he spent several days at a local medical centre, for an undisclosed ailment.
He led the former Northern Rhodesia at independence in 1964 until 1991 at the advent of multiparty democracy.
Frederick Chiluba, his successor, died (aged 68) in 2011, nine years after vacating office.
The health of the former and sitting head of state is a source of apprehension in Zambia in recent years.
Levy Mwanawasa, the third president, died (from a stroke aged 59) in 2008. He was the sitting president.
His successor, Michael Sata was also at the helm when he succumbed to an undisclosed illness in 2014, aged 77.
Zambia is riven by political violence ahead of polls on August 12.
– CAJ News