Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa dies

President of Zambia Levy Mwanawasa dies after suffering a stroke weeks earlier, born n 1948 was a Zambian politician. He was the President of Zambia from January 2002 to his death in August 2008.

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Laura Bush with Levy Mwanawasa and his wife Maureen.

On July 3, 2008 news outlets began reporting that Mwanawasa had died in a Paris hospital due to his stroke. The story originated at the Johannesburg based 702 Talk Radio, which cited Malone Zaza, who claimed to be the head of protocol at Zambia’s High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa; however, the commission denied having someone employed at the embassy with that name.

Mulongoti, speaking for the government, said the news of Mwanawasa’s death was “false,” and he urged the South African media to show more restraint in its reporting. As the reports were spreading, South African President Thabo Mbeki called for a moment of silence in Mwanawasa’s memory; the South African government quickly expressed regret over this misunderstanding and expressed Mbeki’s hopes for Mwanawasa’s recovery.

Vice-President Banda said that his condition was stable, and Minister of Information Mike Mulongoti noted that Mwanawasa had previously suffered from hypertension; Mulongoti also stressed that Mwanawasa was a “very hard working man” and said that this may have been a factor. Due to Mwanawasa’s incapacitation, Banda became acting President.

Vice President Banda said on August 18 that Mwanawasa’s condition had suddenly deteriorated and urgent medical intervention was necessary. The intervention was successful, according to Banda, but Mwanawasa remained in serious condition. On 19 August, a family member who wished to remain anonymous stated that Mwanawasa had died early that morning.

The news of Mwanawasa’s death was confirmed by Banda through a television broadcast on the government-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). He informed the nation that Mwanawasa had died that morning at 1030 hours (0830 GMT) at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris. Expressing “immense grief and deep sorrow”, Banda declared national mourning for seven days and urged Zambians to “remain calm and mourn our President with dignity”.

A presidential by-election will have to be called within 90 days.

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