In Zambia, doctors who recently examined former president Fredrick Chiluba have recommended his immediate evacuation to South Africa for treatment by specialists. A court ordered a medical examination of Chiluba to determine whether he is fit to stand trial. Meanwhile, a team of doctors says they are awaiting a medical report from their South African counterparts attending to Chiluba before making a decision. Chiluba is expected to fly to South Africa today for further treatment. The managing director of University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Tackson Lambart, informed the court in chambers yesterday that a team of doctors had recommended that Chiluba be immediately evacuated for treatment. Dr. Lambart said Chiluba should be allowed to complete his medical treatment before determining whether he should appear in court. He said many of the necessary tests can not be conducted in Zambia because a lack of medical equipment. Chiluba?s lawyer, Robert Simeza, filed an application for the release of his passport and for the case to stand down, which the court allowed. VOA English to Africa Service reporter Peter Clottey.talked with the spokesman for the former president, Emmanuel Mwamba.
?The head of one of the biggest hospitals in Zambia, the University Hospital, Dr. Lambert, presented a report to the court in Zambia?. The medical report essentially states that Dr. Chiluba is unwell at the moment. It?s in fact recommended for his immediate evacuation for treatment in South Africa,? he said.
Mwamba says the former president is expected to leave for South Africa today (Wednesday) for medical treatment that may last two weeks. He said the report is inconclusive regarding Chiluba?s ability to stand trial.
?I think what they are trying to do is to give time for his treatment. If he is treated for a particular period, it?s only at that time that they can assess whether he is fit to stand trial or not. Because there is hope for recovery, also there is fear that the medical status might remain the same, might remain chronic?the hope is that he might recover sufficient enough to stand trial. Or if the condition persists and it remains chronic, then he will not be fit to stand trial. All these can only be told with a matter of time. You have to give it time,? he explains.
Mwamba says the former president believes he is innocent of the graft charges leveled against him.
?Dr. Chiluba is willing to undergo any trial, because he regards himself as innocent. He thinks the charges are more political than criminal. He is very confident of the cases against him. It is just a pity that he is currently unwell. And all our energy is focused to have his health restored,? he said.
?I think the priority at the moment is to secure Dr. Chiluba?s health. Dr. Chiluba is not well, and I think the court has understood that Dr. Chiluba needs time and that the trial has so far stood down until further notice,? he concluded.
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