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Zambian President Sata death: White interim leader appointed.

Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott has been named acting leader following the death of President Michael Sata.

Presidential elections to choose a permanent successor will be held within 90 days, Defence Minister Edgar Lungu said.

Mr Scott, who is of Scottish descent, becomes Africa's first white head of state for many years.

Mr Sata died in the UK aged 77 after receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.

A look back at Zambian President Michael Sata's life

He was being treated at London's King Edward VII hospital where he died on Tuesday night.

Mr Scott regularly stood in for the president at official events, but was never appointed acting president when Mr Sata was abroad - so this is his first time to officially lead the country.

In a brief televised address Mr Scott confirmed his appointment.

"The period of national mourning will start today. We will miss our beloved president and comrade," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.

The president's death comes just days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the UK.

Cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said on national TV that President Sata's wife and son were at his bedside.

Michael Sata is the second of Zambia's five presidents to die in office

He is the second Zambian leader to die in office after Levy Mwanawasa in 2008.

Earlier this month reports in Zambia said that President Sata had gone abroad for a medical check-up amid persistent speculation that he was seriously ill.

Gravelly-voiced as a result of years of chain-smoking, Michael Sata rose to political prominence in the 1980s. He quickly earned a reputation as the hardest-working governor while in charge of Lusaka and as a populist man of action. But he was also known for his authoritarian tendencies, an abrasive manner and a sharp tongue - and his critics say his nickname of "King Cobra" was well-deserved.

A devout Catholic, Mr Sata had worked as a police officer, railway man and trade unionist during colonial rule. After independence, he also spent time in London, working as a railway porter, and, back in Zambia, with a taxidermist company.

At the fourth attempt, Mr Sata won presidential elections in 2011. At first he looked as if he would keep promises to tackle corruption and create jobs and prosperity. But his term in office was marred by a crackdown on political opposition and a decline in the economy.

He had rarely been seen in public since returning from the UN General Assembly last month, where he failed to make a scheduled speech.

After he left the country, Defence Minister Edgar Lungu was named as acting president.

Mr Scott is of Scottish descent and his parents were not born in Zambia, so he may not be able to run for president in January because of a constitutional clause.

People would be more likely to invest in Zambia with a white man at the helm.
Guy Scott is ineligible for running for future presidential elections in Zambia because the constitution of Zambia requires for presidential candidates to be at least third-generation Zambians just as Arnold Schwarzenegger is ineligible to run for president in the US, who is a second-generation immigrant from Austria. But his family's close links to black nationalists have earned him enough trust in black-dominated Zambia to be appointed as Vice President of Zambia and he was automatically promoted to the acting President of Zambia. The Sata/Scott administration's anti-China stance was a key factor in winning the previous presidential election.

Sata and Scott came to power in 2011. Scott’s race made him a rarity in post-colonial African politics. “There’s been no hint of any resentment of a white man being made vice-president,” the former farmer and agriculture minister said at the time. “I have long suspected Zambia is moving from a post-colonial to a cosmopolitan condition.” Sata, a devout Catholic, was a former policeman, car assembly worker, trade unionist, taxidermist and platform sweeper at Victoria station in London. He had been a perennial opposition leader, losing three presidential votes, but finally became independent Zambia’s fifth president in 2011 against a backdrop of public anger at corruption and frustration among those yet to benefit from a copper mining boom. He had run for election as one of the few African leaders apparently willing to stand up to China, describing the companies extracting Zambia’s natural resources as “infesters”. But he appeared to tone down the rhetoric once he was in power.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/o ... sata-death

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