South African president wrongly announces death of Zambian counterpart

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Saturday, July 5, 2008

South African president Thabo Mbeki has been asked for an explanation from Zambia after announcing wrongly that the nation's leader Levy Mwanawasa had died. Mbeki asked for a minute's silence for Mwanawasa during a ceremony in honour of those killed during recent violence against foreigners in South Africa.

Mwanawasa was flown into Paris, France on Sunday for emergency treatment after he suffered a stroke in Egypt before an African Union summit. On Wednesday, the night he was supposed to have died, he in fact had a "satisfactory night" according to Rupiah Banda, Zambia's vice president.

Mbeki said he had been informed of the death by the Southern African Development Community's executive secretary. He has since telephoned Zambia's high commissioner to South Africa, Leslie Mbula, to apologise personally.

Zambian Minister for Foreign Affairs Kabinga Pande has sent a letter to the South African government requesting a full explanation for the misunderstanding.