In Zambia, the health of President Levy Mwanawasa has come under scrutiny, particularly among opposition members, following his struggle with an illness in early April. The opposition?s recent calls for a new presidential candidate from the ruling party have been shrouded in questions regarding how fit Mwanawasa is to run the state. Meanwhile, the president has left for a routine doctor?s appointment in the United Kingdom.

Vernon Mwaanga, Zambia?s minister of information and broadcasting, spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about Mwanawasa?s current state of health.

?We realize that we live in an open society and I gave as much information as I could, either twice or once every week to the people of Zambia so that they are aware of the state of their president?s health. Only last week I invited all the doctors who have been treating the president, they agreed on a statement between them and the doctors in the United Kingdom and issued a comprehensive statement on the history of the president?s illness, his current state and what they hope it would be in the future. And they answered questions from members of the press in my office until the questions were exhausted. So we did expose them to the press in order for them to explain what was wrong with the president, what they?ve done in order to mend his health, what prescriptions they?ve given him in terms of the future. We have not hidden or withheld any information regarding the illness of the president.?

Mwaanga was displeased with the opposition?s inquiry into the truth about the president?s health. 

?I would be very very sad if politicians begin to question medical assessment. They are not medical doctors... It is my view that they should concentrate on their own campaign, we will concentrate on ours.?

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