‘Mwanawasa may need weeks of rest’

Mwanawasa was rushed to London on April 1 after suffering the stroke. In an interview with national radio by telephone earlier this week, Mwanawasa assured Zambians that he was feeling much better and was still fit to govern. “I am still not fully recovered, but I will function,” he said then, adding: “I don’t intend to break until I have broken the yoke of poverty that holds Zambians.” Asked if Mwanawasa, 57, was fit enough to immediately resume duty, chief government spokesperson Vernon Mwaanga who is also Information and Broadcasting minister told The Southern Times on Thursday that cabinet had not yet discussed whether or not Mwanawasa should be on bed rest as he recuperates from the stroke. He, however, said naturally anyone recovering from an illness would need some rest before engaging in official duties. “We have not discussed that but it is just fair that he must take a few weeks’ rest as you know he has just been discharged from hospital where he was admitted because he was unwell,” said Mwaanga. “The president is leaving London (Friday) and will arrive on Saturday (yesterday) at 12 hours Zambian time,” said Mwaanga who also disclosed that Mwanawasa had his last outpatient treatment on Thursday afternoon. As Mwanawasa was being expected home, his predecessor Frederick Chiluba who has been in hospital in South Africa for over a month was set to be discharged from Garden City Clinic where he would then start receiving treatment as an outpatient. Chiluba who took an HIV test a fortnight ago and said he tested negative, has started legal proceedings against a privately owned Zambian newspaper, The Post, after the paper rubbished Chiluba’s negative results, calling them fake. In an editorial on Sunday, The Post said: “We have been told that medical tests have shown him to be HIV negative and so on, we know this is not true. This is just a reckless attempt to mislead the Zambian people.” The paper’s editor Fred Membe, took an HIV test last year. After the test, conducted by a doctor employed at St George Clinic in Lusaka which he owns, Membe gave an interview to his paper, during which he announced that he had tested negative. Chiluba’s spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba told the Southern Times this week that Chiluba, who is undergoing treatment for cardiac complications, had lost 20 kilogrammes at the time he was admitted to the hospital on March 27. Mwamba said the diminutive Chiluba’s normal weight is 65kg but at the time he was admitted to Garden City he was weighing only 45kg, a development that worried him and his doctors, prompting the HIV tests. “He lost 20kg from 65kg to 45kg, the good thing is that he has regained 10kgs and he is responding well to treatment. He has improved a lot,” said Mwamba.

April 2006
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