PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu yesterday left for South Africa for specialized treatment after he fell ill during the International Women’s Day celebrations at the National Heroes Stadium and assured the country that he would be back to continue working for Zambians.
President Lungu said he was travelling out to seek high-tech treatment as had been advised by his team of doctors who have been attending to him since Sunday when he fell ill.
President Lungu invited the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) to send a team of its own doctors to visit him in South Africa and assess whether he would be deteriorating or making progress in his recovery.
The Head of State told journalists at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport shortly before departure that he wanted to continue working for Zambians who had given him the privilege to superintend on the national affairs.
The President is accompanied by First Lady Esther, his special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda and his official photographer Salim Henry.
“I am much better but I have to go to South Africa to finish the investigations,” President Lungu said.
And speaking to journalists in Chawama where he had gone to witness the filing of nominations by PF candidate Lawrence Sichalwe, President Lungu said he would inform the nation about the outcome of his medical tests in South Africa.
“The doctors are saying I need to go for further tests and if there will be need for procedures such as surgery or endoscopy, I do not know, but they will tell us. Do not worry, I will keep you informed. I hope to come back alive and who wants to die anyway?” he said jokingly.
Meanwhile President Lungu said he was confident PF would scoop the Chawama constituency seat through a by-election slated for April 14.
“We shall definitely win this seat, that is why I am here because this is where my heart is,” he said. He called on Chawama residents to be peaceful during campaigns, adding that they should be responsible whenever expressing their opinions.
President Lungu said an opinion was a freedom and right of expression which should go with responsibility, adding that people should be careful with what they say during elections.
He advised Chawama residents not to provoke others and precipitate violence during elections.
“We don’t want violence. Zambia has been labelled as one of the best democratic African countries.’’
President Lungu urged the electorate to turn out in large numbers on the polling day so that they did not question why their candidate lost.
And Mr Sichalwe has promised to develop Chawama constituency by building more schools and health posts in the area.
Mr Sichalwe said once elected he would work towards decongesting Chawama clinic by building more health posts in the area.
PF has appointed Matero member of Parliament Miles Sampa has campaign manager for the Chawama constituency. Northern Province minister and former Patriotic Front (PF) Northern Province chairman Freedom Sikazwe and Tourism and Arts minister Jean Kapata have been appointed to be campaign managers for Senga Hill and Masaiti constituencies respectively.
UPND has settled for a businessman Charles Kaselwa for Chawama and former Energy permanent secretary Peter Mumba for Masaiti.
National Revolution Party fielded party leader Cosmo Mumba’s wife Martha as their candidate for Chawama.
MMD and the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) will not take part in the by elections.
MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba said his party would soon announce which party it would support.