Chiluba to remain in SA

Chiluba has been receiving treatment at Johannesburg’s Garden City Clinic for close to three months since the time he was rushed there on March 24 when he developed heart complications. Chief government spokesman Vernon Mwaanga who is also Information and Broadcasting minister told the local media during the week that Chiluba had made remarkable progress and could be returning home any time. However, responding to a query from The Southern Times, Chiluba said he should be left alone so that he recovers in peace other than people spreading rumours and dramatising his illness. “The President says people must let him recover in peace and not make any assertions and rumours about his illness. The doctors know what they are doing when they say he must stay on for the weekly reviews,” said Mwamba on behalf of Chiluba. On April 26, Chiluba was discharged from Garden City Clinic and he has since been an outpatient undergoing weekly reviews. Chiluba’s continued stay in South Africa is now raising eyebrows both at home and abroad. In a new twist Chiluba’s ailment has also become a subject of rumours with some suggesting that the former head of state- who back home has several pending charges of corruption and abuse of office- was planning to pull a surprise by using South Africa as a getaway to the outside world in order to jump trial. According to media reports from South Africa this prompted security officers there to put him under surveillance. Two of his former confidants during the heydays of his ten-year rule, Xavier Chungu then Intelligence chief and Atan Siansonga who served as the country’s High Commissioner to the US “escaped” from Zambia in dramatic fashion and are now believed to be in Europe and USA, respectively. The two were jointly charged with Chiluba. The other speculation on Chiluba’s continued stay in Johannesburg is that he wants to prolong his criminal cases in Lusaka while at the same time continue holidaying in South Africa which is one of the world’s best holiday resorts. At the weekend a solemn rumour made the rounds that the former Zambian president was dead. Mwamba said the sad thing was all the rumours, including the death one, were reaching Chiluba and could perpetuate his heart condition. “It is true we are receiving a lot of rumours, first they said the president (Chiluba) wanted to run away, then Mwaanga announced that Chiluba had fully recovered and now they are saying he is dead, imagine I had phone calls from as far as Japan and also the BBC wanting to confirm the death of the big man,” said Mwamba in a phone interview from Johannesburg where he also has been since March 24 when Chiluba first experienced cardiac complications.

June 2006
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