The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

Guy Scott, famous in Zambia for his jocular, outspoken – and sometimes undiplomatic – tongue, became the nation’s acting president Wednesday, sub-Saharan Africa’s only current white head of state.

Scott took office after the death of President Michael Sata in London late Tuesday, amid questions about whether he can run for the office in coming elections.

Sata had appointed defense minister Edgar Lungu as acting president before departing for medical treatment in Britain. Sata’s Patriotic Front, reportedly in chaos, has been jostling over the succession while the president was sidelined by poor health.

But Section 38 of Zambia’s constitution is clear that when a president dies in office, the vice president becomes acting president, before calling a presidential election within 90 days.

Zambia’s constitution also has a clause that a president must be born of Zambian parents. Scott was born in Livingstone, when the country was still Northern Rhodesia, the son of a Scotsman and an English woman.

But in previous rulings on the question of presidential parentage, Zambia’s Supreme Court has found that people who lived in Northern Rhodesia and became citizens at independence were eligible to be president because there was no Zambia their parents could have lived in before 1964.

Scott has been at times controversial as vice president, angering the regional powerhouse, South Africa, which last year summoned the Zambian ambassador to explain remarks the vice president made in a newspaper interview that he pitied the advisors of South African President Jacob Zuma and “hated” South Africans who were “backward.”

Scott, appointed vice president in 2011, said in the 2013 Guardian interview that black South African leaders behaved like their white predecessors and compared Zuma with the last white South African president, F.W. de Klerk, who lost office when Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress swept to power in 1994.

The departure of De Klerk marked the last time a white man was the head of state in sub-Saharan Africa until Wednesday.

In 2012, Scott told The Spectator that former U.S. President George W. Bush “thought they were kidding” when Scott was introduced to him as vice president.

When he was elected in 2011, Scott said there had been no hint of resentment at a white man becoming vice president.

Sata died in a London hospital with his family at his side. There was anger in Zambia that the government concealed Sata’s still-unidentified illness after a statement last week that he was going abroad for a “medical checkup.”

Sata, rarely seen in public since last May, missed a speech at the United Nations last month and the country’s 50-year independence celebrations last week.

AFP Photo/Monirul Bhuiyan

Want more world news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Washington (AFP) - Republicans in the US Senate prevented action Thursday on a bill to address domestic terrorism in the wake of a racist massacre at a grocery store in upstate New York.

Democrats had been expecting defeat but were seeking to use the procedural vote to highlight Republican opposition to tougher gun control measures following a second massacre at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Jimmy Kimmel

Image via YouTube

The totally needless killing of 19 school children and two teachers in the latest school shooting shows once again that we're a nation on the verge of total disaster.

Never hesitant to nail hypocritical Republicans, Jimmy Kimmel began his show without an audience on Wednesday and delivered a poignant monologue about the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Kimmel blasted feckless Republicans by noting most Americans support common-sense gun laws, but the legislation stalls “because our cowardly leaders just aren’t listening to us ― they’re listening to the NRA.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}