MULENGA Sata has lambasted online and international media houses for allegedly peddling speculations and rumours that President Michael Sata has been admitted to a New York hospital where he is alleged to be receiving emergency medical treatment by a team of American doctors.
Mulenga, the Lusaka Mayor, has described speculations and international media reports that the President has been hospitalised in New York as “aberrancies and false”.
Mulenga, the son of President Sata, yesterday told a media briefing that President Sata was well contrary to insinuating that the President had been hospitalised.
Zambia yet again yesterday woke up to a flurry of speculations both locally and internationally that President Sata had failed to address the UN session in New York because he had been hospitalized and was being attended to by a team of American doctors.
Mulenga said he spoke with his father and the First Lady Christine Kaseba on Thursday and that the two had confirmed President Sata was well.
He said President Sata had expressed regret at the unfortunate reports being circulated concerning the health of the Head of State.
Mulenga said President Sata had urged all peace-loving Zambians to remain calm and united and that the Head of State would be able to issue a statement about the speculations surrounding his health in New York soon.
“I wish to inform the nation and the world at large that His Excellency, President Michael Chilufya Sata is well in New York contrary to online and international media reports insinuating that the President has been hospitalised. I recently spoke with the President and the first lady in New York and they have both confirmed that he (Sata) is well. Therefore the speculations about the President being hospitalised in New York are aberrancies and false and the Head of State has expressed regret at the unfortunate reports,” Mulenga said.
And both government and the presidency have parried rumours and media reports that President Sata was on Thursday hospitalized and died in New York where he is currently attending the 68th general assembly of the United Nations (UN).
Presidential press aide George Chellah told journalists in New York that the story by the Associated Press (AP) suggesting that President Sata had been hospitalized was not true.
Vice-President Guy Scott yesterday told Parliament that it was not true that President Sata had undergone emergency medical attention in his New York Palace Hotel.
Dr Scott said reports that President Sata had died or being treated in New York which were carried by several American media houses were untrue and stressed that the Head of State was “entirely normal and health.”
Responding to a question by Monze Central UPND MP Jack Mwiimbu who wanted to know why the Head of State had not addressed the UN summit from the time he arrived in New York, Dr Scott said the President could attend the summit without addressing it.
Meanwhile, chief government spokesperson Joseph Katema said he had not received any information that President Sata had been admitted to a New York hospital as was being reported by the international media.
Some of the United States media organisations that reported that President Sata had been hospitalised in New York and was receiving treatment included the Voice of America (VOA), Newsweek and the Associated Press.
The Newsweek reported that President Sata’s “mystery no-show” at the United Nations raised speculations about the state of health of the Zambian leader, who last week emphatically told the Zambia parliament, “I am not dead.”
According to Newsweek, a well-placed source at the U.N. told the magazine that Sata died in his hotel room on Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that the 77-year-old President was treated at his hotel by State Department doctors and then rushed to a hospital.
A New York police spokeswoman said she had no details on his condition. A spokesman at the Zambian mission declined comment when several reporters inquired about Mr Sata’s health.
The speculations started swirling on Wednesday night, when President Sata failed to show up for his scheduled address at the General Assembly, which this week conducts its annual debate, an opportunity for the U.N.’s 193 members to showcase their policies to the world.
Mr Sata was slated to follow Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday night.
The U.N. moderator then received a notice, and after a short hesitation, announced, instead, that the next speaker, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, would address the council.
No alternative time for Mr Sata’s address was announced.