The Fifth Republican President of Zambia, Michael Sata passed away Tuesday evening in London, following an undisclosed illness, which had kept him out of the public eye for quite some time.
According to our authoritative source, the 74 years old chain-smoker President, who had been receiving medical care at the Harley Street Clinic in London for the past week, died at approximately 2100 hours local time on Tuesday night.
Recently, the health of president Sata had received intensive scrutiny in various media ““ including Kata Kata`s report on 20th July 2014 titled: “Zambia: When the Health of The President Becomes a National Discourse“ (http://www.katakata.org/zambia-when-the-health-of-the-president-becomes-a-national-discourse/). The report was not prophetic really; having in mind that all indicators were pointing to President Michael Sata`s deteriorating health. Worse still, President Sata, who was to address the United Nations General Assembly of late, suddenly returned to Zambia abruptly, adding more speculations and controversies to the numerous conflicting reports in the media about his health. As usual in many African countries, both the ruling party in Zambia, Patriotic Front (PF) and the government official vehemently denied reports about President Sata`s dilapidating health.
Controversially, before his departure to London for the medical treatment, President Sata appointed his Minister of Defence cum Justice Minister Edgar Lungu as his Acting President, instead of the Vice President Guy Scott. Now that President Sata is dead, the thorny question is: Who will succeed President Michael Sata? Although constitutionally, in the case of the President`s death, the Vice President takes over the mantle of leadership pending on the next election; however the same constitution puts a clause on the parentage of the president. According to the constitution of the Republic of Zambia, the parents of the President must be Zambians by birth or descent.
According to Article 33 (1) of the constitution of the Republic of Zambia: “there shall be a President of the Republic of Zambia who shall be the Head of State and of the Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force“. Article 34 (3) (b) states that “A person shall be qualified to be a candidate for election as President if “˜both his parents are Zambian by birth or descent` .“
This clause nullifies the Vice President Guy Scott – whose father Alec Scott, moved to Zambia in 1927, while his mother, Grace, emigrated in 1940 ““ from becoming the president of Zambia. In other words, even though Vice President Guy was born in 1944 in Livingstone, Zambia, he is barred constitutionally from becoming the president of Zambia.
The tricky and moral question is: Should the constitution of the Republic of Zambia be amended to allow Acting President Guy Scott, who was born in Zambia to White parents, to become the President of the country? Or should Guy Scott be disqualified from the post despite the fact that he was born and grew up a Zambian?