Sick Chiluba told wife may not accompany him to SA

HEARTSORE: Frederick Chiluba. Pic. Mackson Wasamunu. 21/04/04
HEARTSORE: Frederick Chiluba. Pic. Mackson Wasamunu. 21/04/04

LUSAKA - Zambia's ailing former president Frederick Chiluba will refuse to travel to South Africa for medical treatment if his wife is not allowed to accompany him, his spokesman said yesterday.

LUSAKA - Zambia's ailing former president Frederick Chiluba will refuse to travel to South Africa for medical treatment if his wife is not allowed to accompany him, his spokesman said yesterday.

President Levy Mwanawasa has given Chiluba authorisation to travel to Johannesburg to receive cardiac treatment, but has barred his wife, Regina, from travelling with his predecessor because she has a trial pending on charges of receiving stolen property.

Chiluba's spokesman, Emmanuel Mwamba, said: "The conditions he has set are inhuman.

"Mrs Chiluba is part of the treatment and the only one who can do his private and personal things."

Chiluba, who served as president for 10 years until 2001 when he retired, is himself on trial for corruption and theft of public funds, but his case has been repeatedly delayed because of an acute heart condition.

The Zambian government had initially stopped him from seeking medical treatment in South Africa, arguing that his heart problem could be treated locally, but Mwanawasa on Monday used his presidential discretion to allow the former president to travel.

But Mwanawasa said Chiluba must surrender his passport to Zambia's embassy in South Africa upon his arrival to prevent him "from running away".

"The conditions do not promote healing. We request that Mwanawasa set aside the conditions, especially the one regarding his wife," Mwamba said. - Sapa-AFP

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