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LUSAKA: Zambia’s home affairs minister Ronnie Shikapwasha, has called on Zambians to intensify their prayers so God can speed President Levy Mwanawasa’s recovery.

He said that the information he has received indicates that the president’s condition has greatly improved. The information was obtained from the First Lady, Maureen Mwanawasa and the Zambian embassy staff in France. Officiating at a Northern Baptist Church prayer meeting held at Fiwale Mission near Ndola, Lt Gen Shikapwasha, urged Zambians to appreciate that God has answered their prayers.

He said that it takes a long time for a person who has suffered a stroke to recover, adding that there is no reason to put pressure on the president.

As goodwill and quick recovery messages to the ailing Zambian leader overwhelm local newspapers and other media outfits, government has urged defence and security personnel not to lose focus in the wake of falsehoods being spread by government critics. For his party, defence minister George Mpombo, urged the defence and security personnel to remain steadfast during the absence of the commander-in-chief, adding that the constitution will continue to be the moral campus of the nation. 

Mpombo assured Zambians that the government is working as a united front despite the absence of President Mwanawasa who is admitted to the Percy Military Hospital in Paris, France.

Speaking during prayers for the president organised by the defence and security personnel, Mpombo called on Zambians to continue praying for the full recovery of President Mwanawasa and believing that God will heal him. He said government is humbled by the love, dedication to duty and commitment that the defence and security personnel have demonstrated during the time Mwanawasa has been away.

“It may be a slow process, but with God’s hand, everything is possible. God is able to throw a mountain into the sea. Let us not be negative when commenting on President Mwanawasa’s illness. The president is a national asset and you the people elected him,” Mpombo said.

Zambia Army chaplain, James Phiri also urged Zambian citizens to pray for the country’s leadership, adding that the Bible encourages prayers for leaders.

There have been suggestions for government to address the issue of succession in the event that the head of state is no longer able to govern, but the MMD leadership remains hopeful that Mwanawasa, who is the current chairman of SADC, will eventually recover sufficiently to resume duty, albeit on a reduced scale.

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