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Rupiah Bwezani Banda, the former President of Zambia who served from 2008 to 2011, died on Friday after a long battle with colon cancer.

The former president died yesterday at his residence around 19:00 hrs CAT. The president’s son Andrew Banda confirmed the news to the media and said the decased passed away at his home.

Barely a year after losing the country’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia has lost yet another father to the nation, its fourth Republican President.

He died a day after President Hakainde Hichilema paid him a courtesy visit at his Makeni home and reported seeing him in excellent spirits.

In a Facebook post, Hichilema stated, “We extended heartfelt congratulations to our former Head of State, from you, the people of Zambia, and urged the older Statesman, his beloved wife Madam Tandiwe Banda, and the rest of the family to remain strong and rely on the Lord in all they do.”

President Hakainde Hichilema

The 83 year old leader was born on February 19, 1937. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2020.

President Banda had gone to India last year where he received treatment.

President Rupiah Bwezani Banda /Courtesy/

He served in various diplomatic positions under the first president, Kenneth Kaunda, before being named vice president by then-President Levy Mwanawasa in 2006.

When Mwanawasa suffered a stroke in mid-2008, Banda assumed the presidency in an acting capacity.

On a ruling party ticket, Banda won the October elections the same year by a razor-thin margin.

However, suspicions of graft tarnished his tenure, and in 2013, Zambia’s parliament removed Banda’s immunity from prosecution, allowing investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offenses.

He then lost the presidential election to the late Michael Chilufya Sata in 2011 on his second attempt to the presidency.

During his presidency, Banda was accused of abuse of power, corrupt purchase of public property, and misappropriation of public monies totaling more than $11 million. However, he was never found guilty in a court of law and never served any time in prison.

The cause of death is yet to be communicated the country waits an official statement.

President Banda’s death adds to the number of Zambian deceased presidents to five.

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