ADDIS ABABA – Zambia’s Former president Rupiah Banda has died at the age of 85 after suffering from colon cancer, according to country’s presidency .
Zambia’s fourth president was reportedly diagnosed with cancer two years ago and had been receiving medical treatment.
In a televised address to the nation, President Hakainde Hichilema paid tribute to his predecessor.
“His life of service to our country, and to our continent, represents the highest form of patriotism,” he said.
Banda, who was a former Vice president, took office after Zambia’s third president Levy Mwanawasa suffered a stroke and died while in office in 2008. He won the subsequent election.
But he stepped down in 2011 after losing that year’s poll to Michael Sata. Banda was widely praised at the time for accepting defeat, rather than challenging the result.
On Sunday, African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was “saddened by news of the death of former Zambian president”.
The Chairperson described Banda as “a respected elder statesman in the southern African region”. The late former president of Zambia led a number of African Union election observor missions on various occasions.
Featured Image caption: Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda arrives at the airport in Entebbe 42km (25 miles) south of Uganda’s capital Kampala, July 23, 2010. [Photo REUTERS/James Akena]