Zambian leader Edgar Lungu collapses in public, office says he is ‘well’

Zambian leader Edgar Lungu collapses in public, office says he is ‘well’

Zambian President Edgar Lungu collapsed on Sunday while officiating at a military event, his office confirmed.

The 64-year-old, who is seeking re-election in August, “experienced sudden dizziness” at an event to mark Defence Forces Day.

“His Excellency recovered immediately and walked to the official car and returned to his residence at State House,” cabinet secretary Simon Miti said.

Miti said Lungu wished to assure “all concerned citizens that he is well and has continued to discharge his duties as head of state.”

Zambia’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that Lungu can stand for re-election on August 12, throwing out a second opposition challenge to his eligibility on the basis of the constitutional two-term limit.

The ruling comes as Zambia faces a multipronged economic crisis, after overleveraging its debt right before the brutal global Covid-19 shutdown. The crisis has triggered Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign default and driven the southern African country to seek emergency IMF help.

Lungu’s first term in office lasted a year and six months, when he took over after the death of the previous elected president, Michael Sata. He then won an election in a disputed vote in August 2016.

Since this is technically his second term, the opposition had argued that he is no longer eligible to run — an argument which the court had already rejected in 2018, but a second concurrent case was still awaiting a decision.

“The first respondent’s nomination is valid and he is entitled to stand for election on August 12, 2021. The petitions have no merit,” the judgment read by Justice Anne Sitali said. – ZimLive