Zambia’s Guy Scott Becomes Africa’s First White State Leader Since ‘94

By | Oct 30, 2014 12:45 AM EDT
Guy Scott

Zambia's Vice President Guy Scott (L) listens as U.S. President Barack Obama (not pictured) speaks, at the first Leaders' Session of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, at the State Department in Washington, in this August 6, 2014 file picture.(Photo : Reuters / Larry Downing / Files)

Zambia's Vice President Guy Scott on Wednesday became the first white leader of an African democracy in 20 years after President Michael Sata passed away in London on Tuesday.

Under Zambia's law, Scott is not qualified to run for presidential elections in Zambia because he is of Scottish descent and both his parents were not born in the African state, although he himself was born there. He will, however, serve as Zambia's leader for 90 days until they are able to hold an election for Sata's successor, Reuters detailed.

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The new interim president of Zambia issued a brief on-air statement announcing the beginning of their national mourning and said they will miss the late president. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said he was proud of having been entrusted with the responsibility, attributing the appointment to his seniority within the party.

Scott, who was present when Sata died, recalled how the late president kept him as Zambia's vice president even though a lot of people wanted him to step down, the report added.

Africa had no other white head of state since 1994 when Nelson Mandela defeated F.W. de Klerk of Africa in a landmark election, according to the report.

Analysts cited by Reuters say the most likely candidates for Sata's vacated position are finance minister Alexander Chikwanda and defense minister Edgar Lungu.

Many of Zambia's citizens favor Scott's temporary presidential appointment. Nathan Phiri, a local bus driver, described him as a "black man in a white man's skin," the report relayed.

Sata had been suffering from an undisclosed illness for a long period of time before he passed away at age 77 at the King Edward VII hospital, where he was seeking treatment, the Zambian Watchdog said.

Sata was known to be very critical of foreign mining firms, often stirring up rows with copper mines in the nation and shaking up the investors.

South African consulting firm ETM described Sata as a divisive leader who hindered investment in the country with his rigid authoritarian policies against the mining industry. Sata's demise could pave the way for a more reformist governance, ETM added.

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