White Zambian Named Acting President, First in Sub-Saharan Africa Since ’94
LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — Zambian President Michael Sata, once dubbed “Mr. King Cobra” for his sharp-tongued remarks, has died in a London hospital after a long illness. Vice President Guy Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent, became the country’s acting president Wednesday, making him the first white leader of a sub-Saharan African nation since 1994 when South Africa moved to majority rule.
Sata, 77, had largely dropped out of public view months ago as his health deteriorated. The government did not divulge details of his condition, but some Zambian media outlets said he suffered multiple organ failure.
Rumors that Sata was deathly ill had long gripped Zambia, and opposition groups had questioned whether he was fit to lead a country of 15 million people that has enjoyed robust economic growth but suffers widespread poverty. He had served as president since 2011.
Under the constitution, Scott, a 70-year-old former agriculture minister who also worked in Zambia’s finance ministry, cannot run for president because his parents were not Zambians by birth or descent.