Zambia’s President Michael Sata has passed away at the age of 77 after receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness, the government says.
Michael Sata, who was being treated in the UK, died in London’s King Edward VII hospital on Tuesday night.
Media said that he died after “a sudden onset [of] heightened heart rate”.
It is not immediately clear who will succeed the president. The issue may be decided by the Zambian cabinet which meets on Wednesday morning.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing on of our beloved president,” cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said in a statement read out on national TV.
He said that Michael Sata’s wife and son were at his bedside.
“I urge all of you to remain calm, united and peaceful during this very difficult period,” Roland Msiska added.
Known as King Cobra for his venomous tongue, Michael Sata was elected Zambia’s president in 2011
The president’s death comes just days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the UK.
Earlier this month reports in Zambia said that President Micael Sata had gone abroad for a medical check-up amid persistent speculation that he was seriously ill.
After he left the country, Defense Minister Edgar Lungu was named as acting president.
Vice-President Guy Scott has regularly stood in for the president at official events. But he is of Scottish descent and his parents were not born in Zambia, so he may fall foul of a constitutional clause on parentage which would nullify his candidacy.
Known as “King Cobra” for his venomous tongue, Michael Sata was elected Zambia’s president in 2011.
He has rarely been seen in public since returning from the UN General Assembly in Spetember, where he failed to make a scheduled speech.
Michael Sata became president in September 2011, defeating the then incumbent Rupiah Banda whose party had been in power for 20 years.
[youtube P8N5gYVdW2s 650]
Rupiah Banda, Zambia ex president, has been arrested in connection with a Nigerian oil deal, officials say.
Rupiah Banda is accused of stealing more than $11 million during his three years in office, Reuters news agency reports.
The former leader, who was stripped of presidential immunity earlier this month, was questioned for nearly three hours before being freed on bail.
Rupiah Banda denies the charges and says he is the victim of a witch-hunt. He is due in court on Tuesday.
Rupiah Banda, Zambia ex president, has been arrested in connection with a Nigerian oil deal
Shortly after being released, Rupiah Banda addressed his supporters, telling them to remain calm and that he would win the case in court.
He lost 2011 elections to Michael Sata, whose government is investigating several high-profile deals made by Rupiah Banda’s administration amid accusations of corruption.
Rupiah Banda led Africa’s top copper producer from 2008 to 2011.
Australian backpacker Erin Langworthy has miraculously survived following a fall into crocodile-infested waters after the cord snapped while she was bungee jumping in Zambia.
Erin Langworthy, 22, fell into the Zambezi river following the terrifying mishap, which happened as she leapt from a bridge at Victoria Falls on the country’s border with Zimbabwe.
The young woman told how her feet were still tied together as she fell head first into the fast-flowing rapids beneath the world’s largest waterfall.
She said she feared for her life but managed to survive after swimming to a nearby bank on the side of the river.
Erin Langworthy said: “It went black straight away and I felt like I’d been slapped all over.
“I landed with my legs tied and then had to swim to the Zimbabwe side [of the river] through the rapids,” she told Australia’s Channel Nine network.
“It was quite scary because a couple of times the rope actually got caught on some rocks or debris.
“I actually had to swim down and yank the bungee cord out of whatever it was caught on to make it to the surface.
“When I was first pulled out of the water they put me on my back and so all the water that I’d inhaled meant that I couldn’t breathe, so I made them roll me onto my side.
“And that’s when I started coughing out water and blood. I think it’s definitely a miracle that I survived.”
A battered and bruised Erin Langworthy spent a week in hospital following the incident, which happened on New Year’s Eve. Officials have since launched an investigation into what caused the terrifying accident.
Chilling footage of the incident shows the young tourist, from Perth, leaping from the bridge which crosses a gorge 111 meters above the water.
It shows how her bungee cord snapped as she reached the bottom of her descent, sending her flying down towards the water below.
According to reports it is believed Erin Langworthy was around 20 meters above the Zambezi when the cord broke. She hit the water and immediately fought to get herself towards the shore.
Zambian police spokeswoman Brenda Muntemba confirmed the holidaymaker was eventually rescued after reaching the side of the river.
Erin Langworthy was treated by medics in the town of Victoria Falls before being transferred to a hospital in neighboring South Africa.
The government has set out to reassure people the tourist attraction is safe, despite the incident.
Tourism minister Given Lubinda said around 50,000 people made the leap each year at the world-famous beauty spot.
“The bungee has proven to be a very viable operation considering that more than 50,000 tourists jump on it every year.
“It has been in operation for 10 years. This is the first time I am hearing of an incident. The probability of an incident is one in 500,000 jumps.”
The minister added that his office had launched a full investigation.
Every week hundreds of tourists pay around $120 for the thrill of jumping off a rail bridge which links the two countries.
The Zambia Post reported that the jump was operated by a private firm, Bungee Extreme, which confirmed it was looking into the incident.
A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia.
Conservation workers from South Luangwa Conservation Society, who normally have a policy of leaving nature to fend for itself as much as possible, unless the problem was created by humans.
A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia
On this occasion, however, they could not sit by and let the mother elephant and calf die in such a horrible way.
Before the rescue by conservation workers on the flats of the Kapani Lagoon, the baby elephant and its mother’s herd tries to rescue the pair.
When they are unable to do anything, the team – along with members of the Zambian Wildlife Authority – moves in while the herd waits on the other side of some trees.
With mud in the lagoon drying quickly, the rescue becomes a race against time. Eventually a rope is slipped under the calf’s trunk before the pulling can begin.
A couple of attempts are made to release the baby elephant but it wants to stay with its mother and goes back, getting stuck once again.
At one point, the baby elephant appears to be calling for help while his mother appears resigned to her fate before the rescue gets under way
Eventually, they pull the calf out further away from what could have been its muddy grave. It hears the cry of a cousin elephant and runs towards it.
Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around
Rachel McRobb from the team said: “Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.
“However – every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity. We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die.”
Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around.
The mother elephant is tied to a tractor and, inch by inch, she makes her way to freedom. Eventually she is pulled from the mud and runs towards her baby and the waiting family.