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By Chris Mfula LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambian President Michael Sata fired Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba on Thursday, his spokesman said, removing a potential rival at a time when questions are being asked about the health of the leader of Africa's second-largest copper producer. Sata, 77, has not been seen in public since June 19 when state television showed him meeting visiting Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao. Kabimba, who was also the secretary general of Sata's ruling Patriotic Front party, was replaced by Defence Minister Edgar Lungu, Sata's spokesman George Chellah said in a statement, without giving a reason. He was a potential threat and very powerful figure," said Macdonald Chipenzi, an analyst with Zambia's Foundation for Democratic Process, an pro-democracy NGO.
The worst ever outbreak of the Ebola disease is likely to lead to "sharply" lower growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and raise financing needs in all three West African countries, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday. "The Ebola outbreak is having an acute macroeconomic and social impact on three already fragile countries in West Africa," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.