Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zambian president in Johannesburg hospital

Zambian President Edgar Lungu is in South Africa for treatment of a throat condition that laid him low 30 years ago.

Lusaka authorities have promised they will keep his compatriots fully informed on his condition. He has been admitted to a hospital in Johannesburg.

President Edgar Lungu collapsed in Lusaka last Saturday after cutting short a speech he was making.

Doctors said he was suffering from malaria.

He was discharged from hospital on Monday and his medical staff said he was suffering from Achalasia which is a narrowing of the oesophagus.

Visiting a slum in Lusaka yesterday, Lungu said he was feeling better but needed to go to South Africa for an examination and, if necessary, an operation.

The 58-year-old joked to reporters that he hopes to come back alive because everyone likes to live.

Zambians are not amused.

They have had two presidents die in foreign hospitals these past six years.

Lungu is serving out the last two years of the term of Michael Sata who died in London last year.

Levy Mwanawasa died in a Paris hospital in 2009.

During his election campaign last year, Lungu offered to undergo a medical examination.

Zambian authorities, who have grown accustomed to treating the president’s health as an official secret, promised it will be different this time.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.