Posted by News Express | 29 October 2014 | 3,175 times
For the first time, an African country has a democratically chosen white man as President. This follows the appointment, today, of Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott as Acting President following the death of President Michael Sata. Mr Scott thus becomes Africa’s first white Head of State since FW de Klerk in apartheid South Africa and the first to be so appointed in a democratic setting.
Mr Scott, who will serve for 90 days until a new election is held, told Britain’s Telegraph that his sudden promotion was “a bit of a shock to the system,” but added: “I’m very proud to be entrusted with it.”
Mr Sata, 77, died on Tuesday at the King Edward VII Hospital in West London. Until his death, the acting president of Zambia was Edga Lungu, the defence minister, but Mr Scott said he had stepped into the position, in accordance with the constitution.
“I am the acting president at the moment. It has just been passed by cabinet,” he said. This made him Africa’s first white president of a democratic government ever “except maybe the Venetians in the days when they ran the world,” he added.
According to him, “Everyone is getting used to calling me ‘Your Excellency’, and I’m getting used to it. There are truckloads of guys following me on motorbikes. It’s very strange.”
Asked why he thought he had been chosen by the cabinet to be Zambia’s interim leader, he pointed to his “seniority within the party, in government,” adding:
“The president kept me as his vice-president despite a lot of efforts by people to get me taken down. And I happened to be there when he died.”
He said that he last spoke to Mr Sata, who flew to London almost two weeks ago, several days ago. Asked if he had told him he wanted him to take over the presidency, he said: “He would never be so polite as to do that. But he said he was happy that I was there, to take over if needed.”
Mr Lungu confirmed Mr Scott’s appointment, saying: “Dr Scott will act as president of the Republic of Zambia until the country goes for a presidential by election.”
Under a clause in the constitution which dictates that only those whose parents were born in Zambia can be president, Mr Scott’s promotion is expected to last no longer than 90 days. “I won’t run for the presidency at the election because constitutionally, I can’t,” he said.
•Photo shows Zambian Interim President Guy Scott.
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