By SIMON MUNTEMBA
FORMER President Rupiah Banda has been diagnosed with cancer of the colon and has asked Zambians to remember him in prayers.
Meanwhile, President Edgar Lungu has wished Mr Banda a quick recovery as he fights cancer of the colon.
Mr Banda disclosed his illness yesterday through deputy administrative officer in the office of the fourth President Mr. Chibeza Mfune.
In a statement issued by Mr Mfune, Mr Banda said he has been diagnosed with colon cancer.
The 83-year-old former head of State said he had decided to make it public because he realised that the Zambians who gave him the opportunity to lead the country deserve to know his health condition.
“I have been moved to make this announcement taking into consideration that, although this is a personal and private matter which was actually only known by my relatives, including my two sisters, Ms Velesi Katema, Ms Seba Zulu, my younger brother James Banda and my children here in Zambia and diaspora led by my eldest son James Banda, the Zambian people who honoured me with the privilege to serve them as Head of State for which I will remain forever grateful and indebted, deserve to know that I have been diagnosed with cancer of the colon,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda has however said he was comforted that he would fight the battle just as his wife Thandie did.
He has since asked Zambians to remember him in prayers.
“Most importantly as the nation will no doubt recall that I lost my first wife Hope Makulu Banda to cancer and as fate would have it, my wife Thandie Chilongo Banda is a cancer survivor.
“Therefore, her counsel, encouragement and support borne out of her own experience after having successfully battled this type of disease is a great source of inspiration and comfort to me,” Mr Banda said.
And in a statement issued by his special assistant for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu said Mr Banda and first republican President Kenneth Kaunda were inspiring him as surviving national leaders and wished them well.
“As surviving former Presidents of our nation, Your Excellency, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, and His Excellency, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, you are always sources of inspiration for me. I, therefore, wish you quick recovery as you battle cancer,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State further expressed gratitude that Mr Banda has disclosed his health status to the nation.
“That is a mark of love for the country and its people and we all should respond by wishing him well,” Mr Lungu said.
By SIMON MUNTEMBA