Thursday, 30 October 2014

Zambia’s New President Is White, Read Some Intresting Facts About Him

Zambia's new acting President Guy Scott greets defense and security chiefs Wednesday shortly after taking over following the death in London late Tuesday of President Michael Sata. Scott was vice president. (AP Photo)

On Tuesday, Guy Scott was the vice president of Zambia. Now, he’s being hailed by many in the international press as the first white leader of a sub-Saharan African country since the fall of apartheid two decades ago (that's not quite accurate).

Scott, 70, became president Wednesday after the death of his ally, President Michael Sata, in a London hospital. It’s an interim position; fresh elections are expected in 90 days. Scott says he is ineligible to contest because his parents, Scottish colonial settlers, were born outside the country.

Sata, a firebrand politician whose sharp tongue earned him the sobriquet “King Cobra,” picked Scott as his deputy in 2011. The appointment came after a hard-fought election campaign between Sata and then
incumbent President Rupiah Bandah, a contest that was deeply divisive.

"Michael knows about political symbolism," Scott told the Spectator magazine, a center-right British publication, in an interview in 2012. "It’s one in the eye for his critics who say he’s a tribalist. Obviously, he’s not."

The pair's closeness has now vaulted the Cambridge-educated Scott into an unusual perch. His political life began, in part, as a result of his father, who supported Zambian independence and became a member of parliament. The younger Scott served a stint as agriculture minister in the early 1990s and was credited with navigating Zambia out of a drought-spawned food crisis.

Scott described his appointment as president as a "bit of a shock to the system," according to the Daily Telegraph, and labeled himself the first white democratic leader in Africa since "maybe the Venetians in the days when they ran the world" -- a cheeky comment that's a sign more of his irreverent banter than historical acumen.

Zambia was once the former British colony Northern Rhodesia (Southern Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe). Independent since 1964, the country has a reputation for being one of the more stable democracies in southern Africa. Whites number only around 40,000 of the country’s 13 million people, and a number of those arrived in the last decade, following the land seizures enacted by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Scott is not as hard on Mugabe as many other white politicians in the region; Zambia's government under Sata was seen as being close to the aging autocrat. In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Scott even described Mugabe as an unwilling ruler, ready to hand over power in a democratic election. He spoke of Mugabe with a degree of affection: "He's a funny chap," said Scott. "He seems to doze off, and then he suddenly laughs at a joke while in the middle of dozing.

In the same interview, Scott also was scathing about the region's biggest player. "I hate South Africans," he said, before recognizing "that's not a fair thing to say because I like a lot of South Africans." He explained, eventually: "I dislike South Africa for the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States, I think. It's just too big and too unsubtle."

Though Zambia is a relatively small country, it's part of wider regional conversations. Most prominently, Sata and his supporters traded on anti-Chinese sentiment during their election campaign. China plays a huge role in the country's economy, building infrastructure and retaining a massive stake in Zambia's crucial mining sector -- investments that some describe as a form of neo-imperialism.

Scott, speaking to the Spectator in 2012, was already trying to rein in the rhetoric that brought his ally to power. "It was a shock tactic to point out the problems with the Zambian-Chinese relationship," he said.
Critics also pointed to what they called a creeping authoritarianism in Sata's government. The secrecy surrounding the late president's poor health echoed the cloak-and-daggers scheming seen when nondemocratic regimes experience a leadership transition.
Scott defended his government with colorful language in the Guardian:

    It doesn't help that people don't know where Zambia is and they don't know what Zambia is like. If you were to write a story about America getting out of hand and going to a one-party state, everybody knows so much about the United States that they won't believe you.

    If you say, 'Somewhere over there in the African hinterland, not far from where Marlon Brando had a house surrounded by stakes with heads of his enemies on, not far from the Congo, there's a place where there's a one-party state …' Well, there probably is, probably several. And so it's a lot easier for that because there's no built-in balance.

Scott has said his success in political life is a unique consequence of a Zambia's stability and tolerance. "I don’t think I would be nearly as welcome in South Africa, for example. Or West Africa," he told the Spectator. "I get the suspicion they are pretty dubious, wondering what a white man is doing there. But for some reason, I’m very popular here."
He'll be hoping that popularity lasts, at least for 90 days.

Not with These Generals, they don't look happy, I hope it will end well. The way he talks will get him in trouble Ati West Africans are pretty dubious

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