SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has suffered a stroke, his deputy said yesterday, as the leader remained in intensive care in Egypt where he was due to attend an African Union summit.
“I wish to inform the nation that the President has suffered a stroke,” said Rupiah Banda, Zambia’s vice president.
The Zambian president had been due to take part in a meeting of the pan-African bloc’s Peace and Security Council on Sunday but was forced to skip it after suffering acute chest pains, before being admitted to hospital.
Mwanawasa had his first stroke around two years ago.
“The president is still in intensive care. His condition is stable,” a medical source at the Sharm el-Sheikh hospital in the Egyptian Red Sea resort told AFP.
“He arrived (Sunday) with chest pains and is suffering from high blood pressure,” the source said, adding that doctors were still deciding whether to move him to Cairo.
The crisis in Zimbabwe over the much-criticised election is dominating the two-day summit in Egypt.
The Zambian government has had strained relations with Zimbabwe in recent months with accusations from Harare that it has been in cahoots with Western governments in seeking to topple Mugabe’s government.
Unlike some other southern African Heads of State, the Zambian president has taken a tough line against Mugabe’s regime, likening the economic meltdown across his country’s southern border to a “sinking Titanic.”
Mwanawasa, 59, has ruled Zambia since 2002 and has drawn accusations of nepotism and tribalism, even from within his own ruling party.
His predecessor Frederick Chiluba has faced corruption investigations.
In 2003, when he was vice president, Mwanawasa sustained serious head injuries after an accident invol-ving his official motorcade.