Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott now post-colonial Africa's only white President

OCTOBER 29, 2014

Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott is now the only white President in post-colonial Africa – only for the next 90 or so days, after the death of the country's President Michael Sata in a London Hospital.

Scottish-born Scott has often stood in for Sata previously.

Africa’s last white president was South Africa's FW de Klerk in 1994.

His predecessor, Sata (77), who died on Tuesday evening, is Zambia’s second president to die in office in a foreign hospital after Levy Mwanawasa died in France in 2008.

Acting President and Defence Minister, Edgar Lungu, is expected to hand over power to Scott. Lungu had been appointed acting president by Sata to preside over the country’s 50th independence jubilee celebrations.

Some media reports have suggested that Lungu, who is Zambia’s ruling party’s Secretary General, and some ministers, held a meeting around midnight after hearing the news of Sata’s death.

90 days only

Analysts argue that Scott could be barred from succeeding Sata due to a clause in the constitution that requires a presidential candidate to be a citizen by birth or descent.

According to the Zambian constitution, one can only satisfy the constitutional requirements to be a presidential candidate if both parents of the candidate are “Zambian by birth or descent”.

The Zambian Supreme Court will have to determine whether Scott qualifies or not as in the case of former and late Zambian President Frederick Chiluba.

Political commentator, Maxwell Saungweme said told CNBCNews that Scott became Zambia’s next president, it would be a positive signal of maturity in African politics.

“It’s not the first time that a white person assumed a senior position in government. Zimbabwe for example has had several cabinet ministers who were white. I think the fact that he is a vice president shows that race does really matter in politics,” said Saungweme.

“People are beginning to be worried more about the performance of minsters than their race. Africa should move away from race and look at what someone can do. If we can have black minsters in Europe, a black president in America, then race should be a theme of the past if Africa is really to progress.”

Photo caption: Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott is now the only white President in post-colonial Africa – only for the next 90 or so days, after the death of the country's President Michael Sata in a London Hospital. Image: MaraviPost