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Zambian Government Says Chiluba Can Travel But...

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has cleared the way for former President Frederick Chiluba to travel to South Africa for medical treatment for his aggravated heart condition. This was in response to a letter Chiluba wrote asking President Mwanawasa to intervene after government officials initially refused to allow him to travel abroad, saying his condition could be treated locally. But sources say Chiluba might reject the president’s offer because it came with conditions.

Emmanuel Mwamba is the spokesman for former President Chiluba. He talks about President Mwanawasa’s letter.

“Yesterday, President Mwanawasa wrote a letter to Dr. Chiluba authorizing him to go for his medical treatment in South Africa. However, the letter came with conditions. The conditions are that Dr. Chiluba leaves his wife behind, that he surrenders his passport in South Africa to the embassy in South Africa,” Mwamba said.

He said the former president is pondering over Mwanawasa’s conditions before making any decision whether to accept or reject the offer.

“Dr. Chiluba is studying the authority of the letter because the authority of that letter came with conditions and Dr. Chiluba is not satisfied that his medical treatment abroad should be treated in that manner. He feels he cannot go for medical treatment in South Africa without his wife…because she provides duties that goes beyond what the nurses provide like changing the former president’s clothes,” he noted.

Mwamba said it was unfortunate there were conditions in the letter making it look as if government is not interested in the welfare of the former president.

“Mrs. Chiluba has been facing these charges for the last four years, there is nothing new except now the matter has been taken to court. So that cannot be used as an excuse why she shouldn’t leave Zambia with her husband… Dr. Chiluba is of the view that these are all excuses and stumbling blocks that government is using, and that they are not willing to allow him seek medical treatment. He is of the view that government should allow his wife to accompany him,” he said.

Mwamba said the Mwanawasa government is making arrangements for the medical treatment but subjected to Chiluiba’s decision whether to accept or reject the president’s conditions.

“This depends on whether Dr. Chiluba would accept the conditions that has been attached to his medical treatment. He fears that the government is up to some tricks that do not favor the saving of his life,” he said.

Mwamba said delay tactics employed by the current administration to deny him medical treatment abroad is frustrating the former president.

“Dr. Chiluba is becoming frustrated with all these processes. Is it the intention of the government that they did not want him to get well? Why are they making it as if he does not need urgent medical treatment? Why are they putting conditionalities? He (Chiluba), states that they are just of the view that they (government) do not wish to take him to hospital,” he said.

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