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June 27th, 2009
06:35 AM ET

Rogue monkey urinates on Zambian president

Asia Lindsay
AC360° Intern

Zambia's president was talking up his country’s economy at an outdoor press conference when a monkey sitting in a tree above urinated on him, mid-sentence.

President Rupiah Banda, whose controversial inauguration in 2008 provoked small-scale riots, called the press conference to speak about recent riots that have erupted throughout the country due to a deepening global recession and its effect on the price of copper, Zambia's principal export.

"You have urinated on my jacket!" he shouted back at the monkey.

“I will give this monkey for lunch to Mr. Sata,” he joked, referring to his political rival, Michael Sata.

Banda took control of Zambia in 2008 after the former president, Levy Mwanawasa, suffered a stroke.

Since his inauguration, he has focused on improving the economy and reducing taxes on food and fuel to “help Zambia to become a middle income country by 2030."

Zambia’s ruling party has already put Banda forth as a candidate for the 2011 presidential elections, despite widespread claims that his 2008 victory was fraudulent. Banda beat Sata by 2 percent, though Sata had led in the polls.

Strange incidents involving presidents and press conferences are not unprecedented, of course. At a 2008 press conference in Iraq, former U.S. President George W. Bush ducked to avoid a shoe thrown by an angry Iraqi journalist.

Bush was unphased by the incident, despite it being a grave insult in Arabic culture, saying later, “If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw”.

In the department of strange liquids landing on politicians, in March 2009 British Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson had a cup of green custard thrown in his face by political activist Leila Deen at a summit on low carbon industrial strategies in London.

Deen is a member of the environmental group ‘Plane Stupid’ and threw the custard in protest of the third runway at Heathrow Airport. She described the incident as a “last resort.”

In Zambia, President Banda took the monkey’s misstep with good grace, later laughing with journalists saying that, “perhaps these [monkey urine spots] are blessings.”

If so, there could be more such blessings. Plenty of animals live near the State House, including antelopes and birds.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Muthyavan.

    Economic situation and politics in Zambia should be so bad to humans that our forerunners monkeys are even getting irritated.

    June 29, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  2. Trey Preissman

    Wow!!! What an insightful piece, it sheds light on a comical yet revealing event in Zambia, a country in turmoil. This leader who faces many issued including his nation's dwindling economic stability, now faces the issue of urinating animals, what a conflict of interests. Could this monkey have been making a political statement? If so I am sure the Monkey will be voting for Mr. Sata in 2011 however it might have been a simple case of urinaing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nevertheless thanks for this great story, keep it coming!!

    June 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  3. Observer Kangwa

    . The monkey was displeased with the man like so many Zambian. Health workers are on strike and the president has knee surgery in another country. The ministry of health is in shambles because officials were pocketing donor funds. Some donor countries have withdrawn aid from Zambia.

    June 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  4. Jim,

    Well we know what the Monkey thought of the President and of his speach.

    June 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Katie Edwards

    What an entertaining piece, and from an intern to boot!
    Keep it coming CNN.

    June 27, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  6. susan - Midwest USA

    why is it a "rogue" monkey? Just being Monkey. (You are aware of the Monkey King, no?)

    June 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  7. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Good Monkey! I know we've all seen that "piss on " logo,the monkey was just sharing it's opinion. Afer all, they are our cousins and primates and therefore should be intitled to thier opinions. Somebody should alert Peta to Banda's remark about said monkey to his opponent as a meal.Bad monkey cousin, bad monkey cousin!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, tennessee

    June 27, 2009 at 10:10 am |