[QODLink]
Africa
Zambian president dies after stroke
Officials declare seven days of mourning following the death of Levy Mwanawasa.
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2008 03:45 GMT
Mwanawasa won praise for his economic reforms and anti-corruption drive [AFP]

Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president, has died in hospital in Paris, where he was receiving treatment following a stroke he suffered earlier in the year.

Rupiah Banda, the country's vice-president, told state media on Tuesday that Mwanawasa had died and that seven days of national mourning had been declared.

"Fellow countrymen, with deep sorrow and grief, I would like to inform the people of Zambia that our president Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa died this morning at 10:30 hours [08:30 GMT]," Banda said.

Mwanawasa's health deteriorated after he suffered a stroke while attending an African Union summit in Egypt in June.

He was rushed to a hospital in Paris, the French capital and a statement on Monday night indicated that the president's health had taken a turn for the worse.

Outspoken president

Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's first post-independence president, said his country had "lost a visionary, a leader".

"We need to be united during this period of mourning. Indeed, our country has been plunged in a situation of uncertainty but we need a unity of purpose," he said.

Mwanawasa was elected president in 2002 - Zambia's third president since independence from Britain in 1964 - in an election disputed by his opponents.

But he won praise for his anti-corruption and economic modernisation drive in one of the world's biggest copper producers, but was unable to lift his nation out of poverty.

In recent months, he broke African leader's traditional silence towards the actions of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, describing Zimbabwe as a "catastrophe" and criticising the the 2008 presidential elections.

Under Zambia's constitution, elections are meant to be held within 90 days of his death.

Vice-president Banda is expected to take over as acting president until then.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
join our mailing list