A Zambian judge has ordered former President Frederick Chiluba to be re-examined by doctors to determine whether he is fit to stand trial for corruption charges leveled against him. The prosecution claims it has video footage, which proves that Chiluba is fit to stand trial.
The judge also ordered the doctors to inform the court whether the former leader will need to be flown to South Africa again for medical treatment after his lawyers needed specialized attention.
Emmanuel Mwamba is spokesman for ex-President Chiluba. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey they expected the court’s order because the charges against Chiluba are political.
“This order is not new, a similar order was made last month that Dr. Chiluba should appear before a medical board. We did that and the Doctors in fact ordered that Dr. Chiluba was so ill that he should be immediately be evacuated for treatment in South Africa. A court also wanted a report from doctors from South Africa to state how well or how sick Dr. Chiluba was… However, the prosecution contended that in their view this medical record must have been overtaken by events because they say, Dr. Chiluba has appeared in public and has made public utterances. In their view, shows that Dr. Chiluba is well,” he said.
Mwamba says though former president Chiluba is very ill, he is willing to appear before any panel of doctors for his health condition to be determined.
“There have been many reports in the last six months that Dr. Chiluba has been unwell from both South Africa and from his panel of specialist doctors here in Lusaka. And they are all consistent, showing that Dr. Chiluba is currently unwell. Dr. Chiluba is willing to appear before any medical board. He doesn’t mind this order because he is not cheating. He is not feigning illness and by virtue that he made public remarks, it doesn’t mean that he is well,” He noted.
Mwamba says Chiluba has been asking some rhetorical questions concerning an attempt to shut him up by the Mwanawasa-led government.
“He always contends that ‘Don’t the sick speak?’ Because he is unwell, does that mean he can’t speak?” he quipped.
Mwamba says ever since Chiluba openly supported an opponent of Mwanawasa during last month’s elections, the government is all out to get him.
“During the campaign period, President Mwanawasa has said that Dr. Chiluba should actually go to court if he is making public statements. President Mwanawasa’s wife also made similar remarks. That is, Dr. Chiluba is well enough to speak on political matters, he must as well go to court to defend himself over the corruption allegations. So this was expected because like Dr. Chiluba has always contended that these matters are political,” he said.
Mwamba says they are concerned about the new order because it will disrupt Chiluba’s scheduled treatment.
“Dr. Chiluba is due for his medical review on November 2, 2006. The Court has ordered that they need this report on November 17, 2006, almost two weeks later, after Dr. Chiluba is due for his medical report. W are worried that this order seems to disrupt his medical program and medical treatment. The order seems to disrupt his schedule. We are of the view that no court or orders or directives are in any way supposed to be allowed to disrupt medical treatment because then we will be endangering Dr. Chiluba’s life,” he said.
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