Former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba has been admitted in a south African hospital for his aggravated heart condition. But sources say Chiluba refused to hand over his passport to the Zambian embassy in South Africa south as directed by president Mwanawasa. The Zambian government agreed for the former president to travel to South Africa on the condition that he would surrender his passport to the embassy upon arrival. Now the Mwanawasa government says former President Chiluba will have to pay for his own medical expenses for failing to keep his promise.
Emmanuel Mwamba is the spokesman for Mr. Chiluba. He talks about Chiluba’s admission.
“Dr. Chiluba arrived in South Africa and began his medical program on Monday when he saw the doctors. They decided to admit him to the hospital in the heart care unit,” Mwamba said.
He said the former president is being strictly monitored to ascertain the effect the delays might have had on his heart condition and on other vital organs.
“He hasn’t been to see his doctors since September. So I think they are still treating him for the cardiac condition and effects on the other organs. So he is in the hospital and he is expected to be in the hospital in the next few days or so until the doctors decide whether to make him an outpatient or not,” he noted.
Mwamba said the former president refused to hand over his passport to Zambia embassy officials in South Africa because he felt it was illegal.
“Dr. Chiluba traveled to South Africa under the authority of the court (in Zambia)… The court granted him his passport but before he traveled there was a lot of confusion where government kept on canceling his trip… He has ignored those conditions because he deemed them as illegal. He is under the court’s authority and he will hand over his passport to the court when he returns to Zambia,” he said.
Mwamba said President Mwanawasa was ill-advised in directing the former president to hand over his passport to the Zambian embassy.
“Dr. Chiluba’s position is that the set out conditions border on illegality since the president was not advised properly. Dr. Chiluba sought authority from the court, which has been holding his passport for the last five years, and anytime he comes to South Africa it is the court that grants him that passport,” he said.
Mwamba dismissed President Mwanawasa’s directive to the former president describing it as purposely intended to delay Chiluba’s travel to seek medical treatment abroad.
“These conditions were designed to impede Dr. Chiluba’s access to medical treatment, and Dr. Chiluba states that he is currently under the authority of the court of Zambia, and that the court allowed him to travel and that is the ultimate authority. Government’s place is just to facilitate the travel as clearly stated in the constitution, “ Mwamba said.
Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!