Lusaka - Zambia's main opposition on Tuesday called for a medical investigation to determine whether President Levy Mwanawasa is capable of ruling the country after suffering a stroke.

Michael Sata, leader of the Patriotic Front, said there was an urgent need to establish the condition of Mwanawasa, who is in intensive care in France since suffering a stroke two weeks ago.

"The doctors should examine him and inform the nation the correct position over his sickness," Sata said in a radio address.

He said Vice-President Rupiah Banda should immediately convene a special meeting of cabinet and appoint a medical team to travel to France to examine Mwanawasa, following reports that he is in a critical condition.

"The nation wants to know the truth. Nobody believes the statements being given by government," Sata said.

But Banda told state radio that Zambians should not panic because the updates that he has been giving on the condition of the president were correct.

"He is sick but in a stable condition," Banda said.

Prominent Zambian medical expert, Francis Manda, also questioned the updates given by government saying they lacked detail as Mwanawasa could be in a "stable condition but critical".

"We want to know what sort of stroke he suffered. It is not good enough to say he had a stroke," Manda said.

Mwanawasa suffered a stroke while attending an African Union meeting in Egypt two weeks ago and was evacuated to France where he was admitted to the Percy Military Hospital outside Paris. - Sapa-AFP