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Zambian president taken to hospital

Latest update : 2008-06-30

Zambia's president Levy Mwanawasa was taken to hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with an alleged heart problem according to a medical source. Mwanawasa, 59, is in Egypt to attend an African Union summit.

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa was taken to hospital in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday after a health emergency, an Egyptian health source said.


The source said Mwanawasa, 59, who is in Egypt to attend the African Union summit, appeared to have suffered a heart problem.


The summit, due to begin on Monday, is expected to focus largely on the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe was sworn in on Sunday for a new term after a one-candidate election widely condemned internationally.


Mwanawasa, the current chairman of the Southern African Development Community, expressed understanding for Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after he pulled out of Friday's presidential election.


Mwanawasa has become a favourite of the International Monetary Fund and other Western donors, who have extended billions of dollars in debt relief in the wake of his crackdown on government spending and launch of a massive anti-graft drive.


He built his reputation as a lawyer for the former opposition, and became vice president in 1991 after Frederick Chiluba ousted founding President Kenneth Kaunda in landmark multiparty elections.


Mwanawasa stunned observers soon after winning the presidency in late 2001 by turning on Chiluba.

Date created : 2008-06-29