Zimbabwean-Born Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda Dies

Zambia's President Rupiah Banda gestures during the Reuters Africa Investment Summit held in Johannesburg March 8, 2011. Banda expects his MMD party to score an easy victory in an election in Africa's biggest copper producer that he says will be coming in a matter of months. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR2JLM7
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Zimbabwean-born former Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda has died. He was 85 years.

The former Zambian President succumbed to colon cancer.  Banda was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and had been receiving medical treatment ever since then.

According to National Post, Andrew Banda who is the second eldest son confirmed the sad news.

He died around 1900 hours today.

Rupiah Banda was born on the 13th of February 1937 in Gwanda, Zimbabwe.

Banda’s parents had migrated to Zimbabwe where they had to look for survival and the deceased grew up under the care of a Dutch Reformed Church preacher.

During that period, BR Naik who financially assisted Banda introduced him to politics, which he fondly pursued as his career.

Rupiah Banda held senior diplomatic posts under first president Kenneth Kaunda before being eventually appointed as a vice president in 2006 by then President Levy Mwanawasa.

Banda took over the presidential reins in mid-2008 in an acting capacity when  President Levy Mwanawasa suffered a stroke.

Rupiah Bwezani Banda was the 4th President of Zambia. He was the President of Zambia from 2008 to 2011.

During his tenure as president, Banda stood accused of office abuse, and misappropriation of public funds involving more than $11 million but he was never convicted.

Meanwhile, last year, he [Banda] played an instrumental role in the transition of power after former President Edgar Lungu lost to opposition challenger Hichilema Hakainde who is now the current President of Zambia.

Considering how active and vital he has been in the transition process this past election and the swearing-in of the new government his sudden death has come as a shock.

Tributes and condolence messages have already started trickling in on social media.