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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 23:16 GMT
I failed Zambia, says president
President Levy Mwanawasa
President Mwanawasa has said he is "tired" of his office
Zambia's president has apologised to his country for failing to tackle poverty, but insisted he will stay in office until elections are due in 2006.

"It has not been possible to reduce poverty and I feel sad about it," Levy Mwanawasa said, describing the issue as "one of my failures".

"Unfortunately, if Zambians made a mistake to elect me as president, they are stuck with me," he added.

About 75% of Zambia's 10 million people live on less than $1 a day.

And almost 1.8 million Zambians, or 16.5% of the population, are living with HIV/Aids.

"Poverty continues to grip our nation. I want to work hard this year so that poverty levels are reduced," he said.

Mr Mwanawasa's admission came as he announced a reshuffle of his cabinet that included the sidelining of a close friend, Works and Supply Minister Ludwig Sondashi.

Home Affairs Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha swapped positions with Kalombo Mwansa, who held the foreign affairs portfolio.

He brought another ally, Vernon Mwaaga, into the cabinet as chief whip, reportedly ahead of an election campaign.

Last year Mr Mwanawasa said he was tired of his "artificial" life as president, complaining that everything was done for him.

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