Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chongwe doubts updates on Levy

Chongwe doubts updates on Levy
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]

VETERAN politician Dr Rodger Chongwe (right) yesterday said he is sceptical over government's assurances on the State House website that President Levy Mwanawasa’s condition has improved. But chief government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti, said Dr Chongwe was a senior citizen who should know that there is no benefit in hiding information on President Mwanawasa's illness.

Commenting on President Mwanawasa's illness and the updates being posted on the State House website, Dr Chongwe said he suspected that the government was not telling the nation the truth over President Mwanawasa's condition.

Dr Chongwe said the government had never been truthful over the matter.
He cited the last time President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke in 2006 saying, the then vice-president, Lupando Mwape told the nation that the President was well and jogging in London.

"They are doing that because they have done it before," Dr Chongwe said.
He said many people did not believe that President Mwanawasa's condition was as stable as government put it.

Dr Chongwe said what was being posted on the State House website regarding President Mwanawasa's condition was at variance with what some international media organisations were saying.

Reminded that most international media organisations were not accurate when reporting on Africa and that they were also capable of making mistakes, Dr Chongwe said the foreign media organisations that reported on President Mwanawasa's condition had been objective in their reporting on the President.

"It actually gives President Mwanawasa balanced coverage since he came to power and he is a man referred to as 'Mr Integrity'," he said.

Asked to name the international media organisations which he said reported on President Mwanawasa's condition as being more serious than the government had put it, Dr Chongwe responded: "You publish that and if anyone demands, I will give you the report."
On Tetamashimba's remark that it would be important for the MMD to consider President Mwanawasa's successor when he comes back, Dr Chongwe said he was reluctant to dismiss Tetamashimba's statement as irresponsible.
"They should produce medical evidence that what Tetamashimba has said is wrong," said Dr Chongwe.
But Mulongoti said the suspicion by Dr Chongwe on President Mwanawasa's health was unfortunate.

He said the government would not manufacture lies just to please Dr Chongwe.
"It will be unfortunate for us to have too many people who are morally bankrupt," said Mulongoti.

President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29, 2008 in Egypt where he had gone to attend an African Union (AU) heads of state summit.

President Mwanawasa was admitted to Sharm-el-Sheik International Hospital in the resort city of Sharm-el-Sheik in Egypt and was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital on July 1, 2008 where he is still admitted.

On Monday, Vice-President Rupiah Banda said President Mwanawasa would undergo a minor operation to improve his breathing.

On Tuesday, Vice-President Banda said President Mwanawasa's breathing had improved following a successful operation.

Vice-President Banda said President Mwanawasa's treatment had been adjusted to take into account the minor operation and that he continues to be in a stable condition.

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