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LUSAKA, July 12 (Xinhua) — Zambians including the family of President Levy Mwanawasa have strongly condemned spokesman of the ruling Movement for Multi-part Democracy (MMD) Bennie Tetamashimbaover his remarks about the head of state’s succession when he is still ill in hospital, according to Times of Zambia.

    Cousin of the president Martin Mokola said in Ndola of Copperbelt province on Friday that the remarks were disturbing at a time when the rest of the country was busy praying for Mwanawasa’s quick recovery.

    “As a family we are disturbed by the media report quoting Mr. Tetamashimba, a senior MMD and government official, but we will react at the appropriate time after consulting widely over the matter,” he said.

    MMD chairman Michael Mabenga advised the party members to remain united, saying this was not a time for squabbles but prayers for the president.

    The MMD in Chipata district urged the party’s national executive committee to suspend Tetamashimba for alleged irresponsibility and causing disunity in the party.

    Chipata district MMD vice-youth chairperson Felix Muzwiti said in Chipata Friday that Tetamashimba must be charged for causing unnecessary fear in the general MMD membership and the nation.

    The MMD in Mazabuka said it was outraged by the remarks. District chairman Trywell Himoonga advised Tetamashimba to apologize to the nation for evoking people’s emotions on a sensitive matter such as the succession of the president.

    But Tetamashimba said there was nothing to apologize about because he did not say that president Mwanawasa should leave office now and it was sad that some people were twisting what was reported.

    Tetamashimba said Wednesday that it will be important for the party to consider Mwanawasa’s successor when he comes back.

    In an interview, Tetamashimba said although he believed that Mwanawasa would come back to lead the party, it was necessary that the issue of succession be discussed.

    Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29 in Egypt where he had gone to attend an African Union (AU) heads of state summit.

    He was admitted to Sharm-el-Sheik International Hospital in Egypt and was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital in Paris on July 1 where he is still admitted. 

Editor: An Lu