Meet Zambia’s white vice-president

2011-10-01 15:38

“What’s a nice white boy like you doing in the rough and tumble of African politics?”

This is the question Zambia’s new vice-president Guy Scott says he gets asked regularly.

On his blog, Scott, who is a former ­editor, answers his own question.

“I am just a regular Oxbridge-educated do-gooder who got the chance to opt for citizenship of Zambia and thus to work in the very engine-room of policy, where the laws and regulations are passed.”

The almost unthinkable happened in Zambia this week – power changed hands and a white man was appointed as vice-president of the country.

Cambridge graduate Scott became second in charge when Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata was sworn in as president.

This was the fourth time that Sata had aimed for the top job and surprised the world by winning the presidency, with a comfortable margin of 42% to incumbent Rupiah Banda’s 37%.

In parliament, Sata’s PF won 40.1% of the seats while Banda’s Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) took 37%.

The 67-year-old Scott started his post-Cambridge career in the Zambian ­finance ministry and was editor of a publication called Business and Economy of East and Central Africa.

His family owned The Post, a newspaper that is still popular in Zambia.

After making money in the agriculture sector, he lectured in robotics at Oxford university.

Although he is today considered to be Sata’s right-hand man, he first joined Banda’s party in 1990, where he rose to become minister of agriculture.

He is credited with dealing with the drought crisis in 1991, which turned into a bumper harvest of maize in 1993.

After dalliances with other opposition parties, Scott joined the PF in 2001.

An avid blogger, Scott commented in a recent posting on his new boss, Sata.

“He is a demanding boss who insists on the highest standards and is quick to point out folly, self-interest and a lack of commitment to achieving results.

“But these characteristics are an integral part of the personality that has taken the Patriotic Front from being just one party among the other ‘third term’ offshoots to poll position in this year’s election,” he wrote.

His loyalty to Sata is uncompromising.

“Is it true that old people will be drowned in the Zambezi/Kafue/Luangwa rivers? Yes, I reply, Sata will jump first and I will be close behind him,” he joked in a recent blog post about falsehoods that are being spread by MMD supporters.


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