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Zambia's Former President Rupiah Banda Dies Aged 85


Zambia's former President Rupiah Banda gestures during the Reuters Africa Investment Summit held in Johannesburg, South, Africa, Mar. 8, 2011.

Former Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, 85, died at home on Friday (March 11) after a short battle with colon cancer, his family and the presidency said.

Banda, Zambia's fourth president who was in power from 2008 to 2011, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and had been receiving medical treatment.

"He died around 1900 hours today," said Andrew, Banda's second eldest child who initially confirmed the death to Reuters.

Banda had held senior diplomatic posts under first President Kenneth Kaunda before being eventually named as vice president in 2006 by then-President Levy Mwanawasa.

Banda served as acting president in mid-2008 when Mwanawasa suffered a stroke. Banda narrowly won October elections the same year on a ruling party ticket.

His tenure was marred by allegations of graft and in 2013, Zambia's parliament stripped Banda of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offenses.

Banda stood accused of abuse of office, corrupt acquisition of public property and misappropriation of public funds involving more than $11 million during his tenure as president, but was never convicted in a court of law and did not serve any jail time.

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