Guy Scott could be Africa’s only white president, just for 90 days - CNBC Africa

Guy Scott could be Africa’s only white president, just for 90 days

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Zambia's vice president Guy Scott is at the verge of becoming post-colonial Africa's only white president. PHOTOS: lusakatimes

This follows the death of the country's President Michael Sata.

(READ MORE: Zambian president Sata dies in London aged 77)

The last white African president was South Africa's FW de Klerk in 1994.

Sata (77), died on Tuesday in a London hospital, becoming the country’s second leader to die in office in a foreign hospital after Levy Mwanawasa died in France in 2008.

The acting president and defence minister Edgar Lungu is expected to hand over power to Scott after he was appointed acting president by Sata to preside over the country’s 50th independence jubilee celebrations.

According to some media reports the ruling party’s secretary general, Lungu and some ministers are alleged to have held a meeting around midnight when they heard the news of Sata’s death. 

In the past, Zambian-born Scott has often stood in for Sata when he has been absent from his duties.

However, some analysts argue that Scott could be barred from succeeding Sata due to a clause in the constitution that requires a presidential candidate to be a citizen by birth or descent.

According to the Zambian constitution, one can only satisfy the constitutional requirements to be a presidential candidate if both parents of the candidate are “Zambian by birth or descent”. 

However, dertimining whether Scott qualifies or not could become the Supreme Court's decision just like in the case of former and late Zambian President Frederick Chiluba. 

(READ MORE: Could Zambia be headed towards a dynasty?)

Political commentator, Maxwell Saungweme said if the constitution approved and Scott became the president it would be a positive signal of maturity in African polity.

“That would be the ideal situation (Guy Scott succeeding Michael Sata), but the Zambian Constitution does not allow that due to partly his "alien" background as his parents are not originally from Zambia,” said Saungweme.

“It’s not the first time that a white person assumed a senior position in government. Zimbabwe for example has had several cabinet ministers who were white. I think the fact that he is a vice president shows that race doesn't really matter in politics.”

“People are beginning to be worried more about the performance of minsters than their race. Africa should move away from race and look at what someone can do. If we can have black minsters in Europe, a black president in America, then race should be a theme of the past if Africa is really to progress.”

According to the Zambian constitution the country should hold by-elections to choose a successor in the event an incumbent president dies in power or becomes incapacitated. 

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