[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
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.