In Zambia, former president Frederick Chiluba is expected to fly to South Africa Tuesday to receive treatment for an acute heart condition. The former president missed his scheduled flight Monday due to delays by the Zambian government in processing his documents. The government was sponsoring the former president’s tribe to South Africa. A magisterial or magisterial court had earlier ruled that former president Chiluba was not fit to stand trial even though an adhoc committee of doctors had recommended in a report that Chiluba needed to be immediately evacuated to South Africa for treatment.
Emmanuel Mwamba is the spokesman for Chiluba and he talks about the former president’s trip to South Africa.
“His trip is delayed till Tuesday 14:25 Lusaka and Zambia time. He is expected to be in South Africa two hours later. The delay is due to administrative issues. Government, you are aware, is funding Dr. Chiluba’s trip,” Mwamba said.
He said the former president is disappointed about the government’s slow pace in handling Chiluba’s trip.
“We are a bit disappointed that the process has not gone as smoothly as doctors and the court directed. The court stated that Dr. Chiluba should be evacuated immediately, and you remember this order was made last week. We had hoped that by yesterday afternoon Dr. Chiluba should have been in South Africa so that he could have seen his doctors,” he said.
Mwamba said though the government was slow in its response to the court’s order, the former president has been assured of the trip to South Africa.
“They (government) assured us yesterday that all arrangements now have been finalized and today at 14:25, Dr. Chiluba should be on his way to South Africa,” he said.
Mwamba said supporters of Chiluba are concerned about the former presidents health because of the delay but absolved the government of any wrongdoing.
“We are concerned, but we are sure they are not doing it out of malice because you know government bureaucracy always slows things,” Mwamba noted.
He denied former president Chiluba had influenced the adhoc committee’s recommendations to have his medical review in South Africa.
“The recommendations came from the doctors here in Zambia at the university teaching hospital, which is the country’s biggest hospital where we have a number of experts. They are the ones that recommended that Dr. Chiluba should be treated in South Africa. It is not us or our lawyers,” he said.
Mwamba said it would be erroneous for anybody to toy with the health of the former president.
“We’ve always argued that his health should not be subjected to bureaucracy, to proceedings and government and all parties concerned including the courts should act with speed and with haste. But sometimes this has not happened…it concerns us that we are not ensuring that his life is protected and secured. In fact, the action seems to have gone to undermine the very health of Dr. Chiluba,” he said.
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