Home International Former Zambian president Banda, 85, dies after 2-year battle with cancer

Former Zambian president Banda, 85, dies after 2-year battle with cancer

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The late Banda served as Zambia’s fourth president and was in power from 2008 to 2011.

Rupiah Banda. File picture: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

RUPIAH Banda, who served as president of Zambia from 2008 to 2011, died on Friday evening in the capital Lusaka at age 85, after a two-year battle with colon cancer.

His son Andrew confirmed the former leader’s death, saying, “He is gone.”

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema took to social media platform Twitter, saying: “It is with deep sadness that we learned today of the demise of Zambia’s 4th Republican President, H Rupiah Bwezani Banda. As we pray for the bereaved family, we know that the Lord will wrap them in His arms and comfort them.”

According to Xinhua news agency, Zambia on Saturday declared seven days of national mourning for Banda.

Meanwhile, messages of condolences from leaders of other countries have started pouring in.

Chushi Kasanda, the chief government spokesperson, told reporters that details of the late former president’s funeral would be made public in due course.

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob on Saturday sent condolences to the government and people of Zambia after the passing of Banda.

“Indeed, with his passing, Namibia has lost a dependable friend. But, we are comforted by his indelible contributions to the liberation movements of our region and the socio-economic development of its people. During this hour of grief, I extend sympathies to his wife, Mrs Thandiwe Banda, the children and the fraternal people of Zambia. May his soul rest in peace,” said Geingob.

Geingob said that as president, Banda had played a pivotal role in advancing the cause of independence for the Namibian people.

Banda had held senior diplomatic posts under Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda, before being named vice president in 2006 by then-president Levy Mwanawasa, writes Reuters.

His tenure was marred by allegations of corruption and in 2013 Zambia’s parliament stripped Banda of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offences.

Banda stood accused of abuse of office, corrupt acquisition of public property and misappropriation of public funds involving more than $11 million (R165.5m) during his tenure as president, but was never convicted in a court of law and did not serve any jail time, according to Reuters.

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