Zambia president suffers dizzy spell at public event

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Zambian President Edgar Lungu.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu.
Roberto Paquete, AFP

Zambian leader Edgar Lungu on Sunday suffered an attack of dizziness that prompted a sudden halt to television coverage of an official ceremony in the southern African nation, the cabinet secretary said.

Lungu, who is campaigning for re-election in August, had been attending a defence forces Commemoration Day event, which was brought to a swift end.

"President of Zambia Edgar Lungu this afternoon experienced sudden dizziness," said cabinet secretary Simon Miti in a statement

"He recovered immediately and walked to the official car and returned to his residence at State House."

Miti added that the 64-year-old was well and would continue to discharge his duties.

Lungu has a rare stomach disorder called achalasia and was taken ill in public in 2015 and hospitalised.

He came to power in 2014, initially replacing Michael Sata who died unexpectedly before the end of his term. He then went on to win polls in 2016.

Zambia's top opposition figure Hakainde Hichilemaon is again set to be his main rival for the presidency.

READ | Zambian president bans campaign rallies to stem Covid-19 spread

The landlocked southern African country has enjoyed relative stability since its first multi-party elections in 1991.

Struggling with mounting debt and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Lungu has been scrambling to boost public support ahead of the August 12 polls, which are for parliament as well as the president.

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