FORMER President Rupiah Banda says he has been diagnosed with cancer of the colon, and wishes the people of Zambia to be aware of his situation, which he says until now, had only been known to close relatives.

The former president who ruled between 2008 and 2011 has asked Zambians to pray for him as he battles with his illness.

In a statement issued by the office of the fourth Republican President, the former Head of State said he is comforted by the fact that his wife Thandiwe is a survivor of the disease.

“I have been moved to make this announcement taking into consideration that, although this is a personal and private matter which was actually only known by my relatives, including two sisters, Mrs Velesi Katema, Mrs Seba Zulu, my younger brother James Banda and my children here in Zambia and diaspora led by my eldest son James Banda, the Zambian people who honored me with the privilege to serve them as Head of State for which I will remain forever grateful and indebted, deserve to know that I have been diagnosed with cancer of the colon,” President Banda stated.

“Most importantly as the nation will no doubt recall that I lost my first wife Hope Makulu Banda to cancer and as fate would have it, my wife Thandie Chilongo Banda is a cancer survivor. Therefore, her counsel, encouragement and support born out of her own experience after having successfully battled this type of disease is a great source of inspiration and comfort to me.”

And President Banda has thanked President Lungu and the government for facilitating for his treatment.

“I am very grateful to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for his personal support and that of the government in facilitating for my treatment. So, as I continue to battle against this terrible disease, I ask for your prayers and with the grace of God, I will be able to overcome,” stated President Banda.