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Concern over Zambian president’s health

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iol news pic Zambia Michael Sata

AP

Zambia's president Michael Sata (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

Lusaka - The health of Zambian President Michael Sata came under scrutiny in parliament Friday with opposition lawmakers requesting a meeting with the ailing leader, who has not been seen in public for three weeks.

Sata, 77, is believed to have returned last week from what the government called a “working holiday” in Israel.

Zambian authorities have cracked down on political opponents and journalists who have reported that the president is in poor health.

Request Mutanga, a lawmaker with the United Party for National Development asked Vice President Guy Scott if he would allow selected lawmakers to visit Sata at State House, where he is said to be “resting”.

Scott replied: “I will convey the message and will be able to communicate to the house by next week.”

Scott said he had met Sata since his return from Israel, but did not elaborate.

On Wednesday a human rights activist asked the high court to compel the cabinet to allow a medical examination of Sata's physical and mental capacity.

If Sata was found medically unfit to hold office, the constitution provides that he should step down, with fresh elections called within 90 days.

The last time Sata was seen in public was on June 19, the day before he left for Israel, when state television showed him meeting visiting Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao.

Sapa-AFP


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