Guy Scott on BBC HardTalk – ‘I Can Be President of Zambia’

During an interview today BBC HardTalk, Vice President Guy Scott has said he qualifies to act as Acting President of Zambia in the absence of President Michael Sata, despite a constitutional amendment which forbids those of foreign parentage from the presidency.

During the interview, Scott said the current Constitution allowed him to act as President. He was responding to a question of whether or not he was legally entitled to serve as acting President in a case where the incumbent suddenly died.

“The current constitution was tweaked by one of our previous presidents, Fredrick Chiluba to exclude Kenneth Kaunda, our first president, from standing again because Dr Kenneth Kaunda was son of Malawian missionaries. That tweak as far as we are able to understand it, it would mean I can act as president if the current President, God forbid, had to leave this earth…but I wouldn’t be entitled to compete in the subsequent elections for President.”

He said the issue would soon become academic because the new constitution had gotten rid of the exclusive clause.

“The new constitution, in draft…I understand it is likely to just reverse all that and say, you just have to be a Zambian and then that’s it,” he said.

Asked if his appointment as Vice-President, making him the most senior white official in post-colonial Africa, was a symbol of a continent no longer trapped in its passed, Vice-President Scott said: “Well perhaps yes, indication that things may be turning the corner, I think a lot has happened in Africa apart from me becoming Vice-President, we were talking earlier about the fact that most Zambians and North Africans in fact have got access to SMS, they have got access to internet, they have got access to satellite television it’s a much more cosmopolitan thing about Africa, and it’s not just to do with me, I mean I am a symptom, if you like, of that lost super colonial conscience.”

He said the government was determined to improve the welfare of the majority Zambians but that they needed enough time.

On Fitch’s downgrade of Zambia’s economy from stable to negative and the perception that investor confidence was declining among would-be investors to Zambia, Vice-President Scott said it was not true.

“It’s not good news but it’s not also perhaps good professionalism by Fitch. If Fitch were to downgrade, for example, the US rating, they would throw out a dozen experienced analysts who would produce a balanced solution. If you are just going to throw 25-year-olds to go and talk to and listen to remarks at cocktail parties in Lusaka…,” he argued. “So let us not get too excited about casual observation of Zambia. People are too inclined to pessimism over Africa. We are in very good terms with the mining companies. The mining companies are not held back on their investments.

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