FORMER president Rupiah Banda has announced that he has been diagnosed with colon cancer.
According to a statement released by his office, Banda says although it is a personal matter, he cannot keep quiet because of the support people gave him when he led the country.
Banda ruled the country from November 2008 to September 2011, making him the fourth president of the Republic.
“I have been moved to make this announcement, taking into consideration that although this is a personal and private matter which was initially only known by my close relatives; including my two sisters, Mrs Velesi Katema, Mrs Seba Zulu, my younger brother Mr James Banda and my children here in Zambia and diaspora led by my eldest son James Banda, the Zambian people who honoured me with the priviledge to serve them as Head of State, for which I will forever remain grateful and indebted, deserve to know that I have been diagnosed with cancer of the colon,” he said. “Most importantly as the nation will no doubt recall, I lost my first wife, Hope Makulu Banda to cancer and as fate would have it, my wife Thandiwe Chilongo Banda is a cancer survivor. Therefore, her counsel, encouragement and support, born out of her own experience, after having successfully battled this type of disease, is a great source of inspiration and comfort to me.”
Banda, who thanked President Edgar Lungu for his personal support, asked for prayers from his fellow citizens.
He said he has already started receiving treatment from his personal physician Dr Shaileni Desai.
“So, as I continue to battle against this terrible disease, I ask for your prayers and with the Grace of God I will be able to overcome,” said Banda. “Am very grateful to, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for his personal support and that of the government, in facilitating for my treatment.”