ZAMBIA’S Guy Scott has become Africa’s first white post-colonial leader after he was sworn in yesterday as the country’s acting president following the death of President Michael Sata earlier this week in a London hospital.
A Cambridge-trained economist, Dr Scott was Zambia’s vice president and in line with the country’s constitution, he became acting president following the death of President Sata. Elections to select a substantive president must be held within 90 days according to Zambia’s constitution and it looks like Dr Scott is not eligible to contest.
Born in what was then Livingstone in Northern Rhodesia, Dr Scott, 70, is a former agriculture minister and a member of parliament for Lusaka Central. Elected as a running mate to President Sata on the platform of the Patriotic Front, he was sworn in as Zambia’s vice president on 29 September 2011.
After his swearing-in, Dr Scott said: “I have long suspected Zambia is moving from a post-colonial to a cosmopolitan condition. People’s minds are changing as they are no longer sitting back and dwelling on what was wrong about colonialism.”
Dr Scott has already conceded that he is ineligible to contest for office when elections hold because his parents, Scottish colonial settlers, were born outside the country. Under Zambia’s constitutions, citizens have to be at least three quarters native to run for president.
This is despite the fact that Dr Scott’ father supported Zambian independence as a vehemtnt6 anti-colonialist and became a member of parliament in the 1950s. During Dr Scott’s tenure as agriculture minister, he served a stint as agriculture minister, he was credited with navigating Zambia out of a drought-spawned food crisis.
In Zambia today, there are only 40,000 whites out of a population of 13m and a number of those arrived in the last decade, following the land seizures enacted by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Dr Scott said his success in political life is a unique consequence of a Zambia’s stability and tolerance, adding that he does not think he would be nearly as welcome in South Africa or West Africa.