Zambian president Michael Sata died last week, and his country is now embroiled in controversy over the white vice-president, Guy Scott, who has stepped into the role of acting president. Scott will remain as acting president for three months until emergency elections can be held to elect a new president. Many are questioning whether or not he can legitimately hold the office of acting president because Zambia’s constitution require than those who hold high office have parents who were born in Zambia.
Many are questioning his role as interim president and also creating upheavel as some point to him as a possible candidate because of how close he was to the now deceased Sata. While speaking to journalists, Scott addressed the fact that he is white by stating, “I may be white on the outside, but my blood is black.” He has since declined to speak with the media any further because he keeps being referred to as the white president. Scott is the first white person to rule Zambia since the country gained its independence from Britain in 1964.
In what some are calling a tense situation in Zambia, which is a former British protectorate, security has been stepped up to protect Scott. An example of this increased security includes military snipers being used. Prior to Scott being chosen by Zambia’s cabinet to take over as acting president, Defense Minister Edgar Lungu held the position. Lungu reported to the Telegraph that he reluctantly stepped down to be replaced by Scott because he did not want there to be bloodshed. Lungu says he complied with the cabinet’s appointment despite him feeling that Scott should not hold the position since his parents were not born in Zambia. Lungu explained, “I love this country so much, just like President Sata did, that I wouldn’t risk the peace that we enjoy. If power is in the wrong hands, so be it- it’s only 90 days after all. I chose the interests of the Zambian people – their safety and peace adn good order. I gave it away.”
Hundreds of members of the Patriotic Front protested Scott being appointed as acting president. The group wants Sata’s son Mulenga to take over the position. Mulenga is currently the mayor of Lusaka and reports that he is ready to lead. Adding to the controversy of Scott being elected, Mulenga reports that his father’s “wish” was for Defense Minister Lungu to step in as acting president, not Scott. Mulenga explained to the Telegraph, “What we want is that he oversees the process in a smooth and transparent manner. I do not envy him the task. He must navigate it carefully because emotions are high. If there’s an apparent lack of transparency or maneuvering by certain cliques – that will create chaos.”