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Zambia: Former president Rupiah Banda dies at 85

Zambia: Former president Rupiah Banda dies at 85
Ex-Zambian president Rupiah Banda   -  
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ALEXANDER JOE/AFP or licensors


Former Zambian president Rupiah Banda died on Friday aged 85. He had announced in 2020 that he was battling against colon cancer.

Zambia’s former president Rupiah Banda has died at the age of 85 after a long battle with colon cancer. His son Andrew Banda announced the former leader's death on Friday.

“He is gone”, Andrew told an AFP correspondent in Lusaka.

Rupiah Banda was Zambia's fourth leader since independence from Britain. He served for three years from 2008 — a term remembered for economic growth and corruption allegations.

Zambia's economy expanded mainly on the back of rising copper prices and a surge in Chinese investment. He pursued a construction spree started under Mwanawasa, building much-needed roads, hospitals and schools.

Zambia recorded a 7.6 percent increase in growth for 2011, up from 6.4 percent the previous year, for which Banda took credit.

He was vice-president when his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa unexpectedly succumbed to a stroke, propelling him into the top job.

But the veteran diplomat was defeated by opposition leader Michael Sata in the September 2011 elections, since wealth accumulated in the hands of a few and that corruption allegations marring his reputation.

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