Zambian President Edgar Lungu Collapses During Defence Force Day Event




President Edgar Lungu inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Zambia Army during the commemoration of defence day in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA /ZANIS

LUSAKA – Zambia President Edgar Lungu collapsed on Sunday, June 13, 2021, during a Defence Force Day event over “dizziness”, the government has said.

The President was forced to cut short his presence and return to the State House, with the secretary to the cabinet Dr Simon Miti announcing that he is well.

“The President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, this afternoon experienced sudden dizziness whilst officiating at the 45th Defence Force Day Commemoration and Investiture Ceremony. His Excellency recovered immediately and walked to the official car and returned to his residence at State House,” said Dr Miti.

“The President wishes to assure the general public and all concerned citizens and the international community that he is well and has continued to discharge his duties as Head of State, Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force.”

Lungu served as Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence under President Michael Sata.

Following Sata’s death in October 2014, Lungu was adopted as the candidate of the ruling Patriotic Front in a Convention of the Patriotic Front in Kabwe, for the January 2015 presidential by-election, which was to determine who would serve out the remainder of Sata’s term. In the election, he narrowly defeated opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema and took office on January 25, 2015.

State House has confirmed that President Edgar Lungu collapsed Sunday afternoon during the commemoration of Defence Forces Day.

In a statement, Secretary to Cabinet and Principal Private Secretary Dr. Simon Miti said President Lungu experienced a sudden dizziness but recovered immediately.

Dr Miti said that the Head of State then walked to his car and returned to State House.

Dr. Miti said the President wishes to assure the general public and all concerned citizens including the international community, that he is well and has continued to discharge his duties.

The four-hour ceremony took place at the Freedom Statute on Independence Avenue where the Defence Forces show-cased their military ware.

President Lungu also used the Commemoration to conduct an Investiture Ceremony to honour gallant men and women in Uniform.

Meanwhile, Zambia has today commemorated its 45th defence force day with a display of assorted land military hardware and a fly passed over the Freedom Statue area along Independence Avenue in Lusaka.

President Edgar Lungu has urged the defence force to remain politically neutral and to stay loyal to the constitution and the people of Zambia.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 45th defence force day at the Freedom Statue in Lusaka today, President Lungu said Zambia has the most dedicated defence force whose performance is above board.

“Your exemplary conduct to national duty cannot go unnoticed, as your Commander in Chief, I am proud of you. I urge you to continue being patriotic and loyal to the constitution, the government of the day and the people of Zambia,” the President said.

President Lungu also stated that government will continue supporting the defence force in acquiring modern equipment.

He has called for collaboration with other nations to ensure continued modernisation of the country’s defence force.

President Edgar Lungu inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Zambia Army during the commemoration of defence day in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA /ZANIS
President Edgar Lungu inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Zambia Army during the commemoration of defence day in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA /ZANIS

The Head of state has also applauded the women and men in uniform for supporting government programmes.

“Going forward, my government will continue to support the defence forces’ long term infrastructure and human resource development programmes,” he pledged.

President Lungu also commended defence forces for their positive response to government’s policy directive for the military to engage in agricultural activities.

Zambia Air force personnel display their military equipment during the commemoration of defence day in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA/ ZANIS
Zambia Air force personnel display their military equipment during the commemoration of defence day in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA/ ZANIS

Speaking at the same event, Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Felix Phiri

emphasised that the defence forces were key in maintaining the country’s peace and security.

Mr. Phiri has meanwhile assured the Head of State that the Ministry of Defence would perform its mandate professionally.

“The Ministry of Defence is at the center of maintaining the country’s peace and security, we want to pledge our total loyalty in achieving this cause,” Mr. Phiri said.

The Permanent secretary also used the occasion to commended service personnel for their loyalty and dedication to duty.

Meanwhile, Zambia Army Commander William Sikazwe thanked government for equipping the defence force with modern equipment and skills to ensure a professional contemporary and versatile military.

Defence personnel showcasing their military skills during the commemoration of defence day at the freedom statue in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA/ ZANIS
Defence personnel showcasing their military skills during the commemoration of defence day at the freedom statue in Lusaka. Picture by SUNDAY BWALYA/ ZANIS

Lieutenant General Sikazwe urged Zambians not to forget the sacrifices that were made in the struggle for freedom and said peace should never be taken for granted.

“We should never forget the cost and sacrifices made by the defence force to the freedom that we enjoy today,” he said.

The Zambia Army Commander further reaffirmed that the defence force will remain committed to maintaining national peace and unity and to keep the good reputation of the Zambian military on the continent.

Every year on the 13th of June, Defence Force Day is commemorated to celebrate service personnel who are bestowed with the duty to defend the country.

This year’s defence force day carried the theme ‘Preservation of national peace and security through patriotism and loyalty’.

During the commemoration, the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force (ZAF) and the Zambia National Service showcased various military equipment, which were driven passed the Freedom Statue along Independence Avenue while fighter jets, military planes and helicopters flew passed.