LUSAKA, Zambia, Mar 9 – Zambian President Edgar Lungu collapsed on the podium while presiding over a Women’s Day celebration in Lusaka on Sunday – less than two months after the 58-year-old took over from a leader who died in office.
Lungu was rushed to a military hospital, but the presidency later issued a statement saying he was receiving treatment for malaria but there was no need for concern.
“I am feeling much better and have been told I have high levels of fatigue and should take some rest,” Lungu was quoted as saying in the statement, adding: “There is nothing to worry about.”
Lungu later told a press briefing at the hospital: “I am looking forward to going home. Doctors have done their tests and they have found traces of malaria, but they are doing further tests and they will let me know what next after before the end of the day.
“They will tell me what to do and not to do, et cetera,” he said, declining to take questions.
Lungu came to power in January after the death in office of President Michael Sata in October.
Rumours that Sata was ill had circulated widely before his death, but were always denied by the government.
Sata was Zambia’s second leader to die in office in six years, sparking calls for presidential aspirants to undergo medical checks to guarantee their fitness.
Lungu, who fell after standing for some 20 minutes during the ceremony, is rumoured to have diabetes.
Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said the results from thorough medical checks at the military hospital were good.