For the first time since 1964, Zambia will be ruled by a white man – Guy Lindsay Scott – for 90 days leading up to a presidential by-election triggered by the death of President Michael Sata who succumbed on Tuesday at a London Hospital.
Dr Scott was given the instruments of power to act as President at a Cabinet meeting this morning but he is barred to contest the substantive position. The constitution prohibits Dr Scott because of the infamous parentage clause that requires such candidates to have parents born in Zambia.
The PF Central Committee will now be charged with the responsibility of electing the ruling party’s candidate. Edgar Lungu – the current Secretary General – who acted as President when Sata left for medical check will have some semblance of control in the process of appointing a successor.
However, the factions in the PF are more likely not to give an easy fight to the succession battle. Dr Scott takes the advantage of incumbency and has openly sided with the cartel which is led by Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe, Wynter Kabimba, Mutembo Nchito and is bankrolled by Finance Bank owner Rajan Mahtani.
Dr Scott is also not in good books with President Sata’s son, Mulenga – the Lusaka mayor – who he says does not qualify to contest the presidency because the mother is from Malawi. Mulenga has distant presidential ambitions.
It’s not clear who the mantle to lead the PF will fall on but some people feel President Sata has left behind unorganised mess for failure of choosing a successor or at the worst providing a clear path to the throne in his absence.
Sources have told Zambia Reports Dr Scott, Kabimba and M’membe were locked up in a meeting to strategise on who will be the PF candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-election. However, the cartel is one of the most unpopular assemblage in the ruling party and may spell trouble if it attempts to force or impose a candidate, sources say.
“There is reliable and credible information that Edgar Lungu will be replaced as Secretary General,” the source added.
Mahtani’s lawyer John Sangwa, who is known for fraudulent activities, this morning rushed to the media to defend the appointment of Dr Scott as Acting President.
Sangwa was however cautious to state that their candidate does not qualify to contest the election because of the parentage clause and bemoaned the PF’s failure to enact the new constitution within 90 days as promised during the campaign. Sangwa says the new constitution would have resolved the issue of the by-election and saved the country from spending huge sums of money.
Featuring on Muvi Television Sangwa said Zambians should know that democracy is not cheap and will have to live with having a Presidential by-election within 90 days and still go to the polls in 2016 for the general election.
Meanwhile, Sangwa also said there was general consensus that Dr Scott does not qualify to run for Presidency.
He said if the country enacted the new constitution they would have avoided the presidential by-election. The Vice President being a running mate under the proposed constitution would have taken over until the end of President Michael Sata’s tenure.
“You have to understand democracy is not cheap it is an expensive enterprise and also that is what the constitution says, you have no choice have to respect the constitution,” Sangwa said.
“That is why these things are happening at an opportune time, it is a period for the people of Zambia to reflect as to whether this is the kind of constitution we want, we need or we want a constitution that could provide a different scenario all together.”
“But as far as the law is concerned now you have no choice but to have elections in the next 90 days. That is what the law stipulates. But if there is a general consensus you have to understand one thing the ultimate authority in any country rests with the people.
“If there is consensus that there is no need for an election and we better waiting until 2016 which I very much doubt because I am sure other people would like to have a Presidential by-election,” Sangwa said.
“But assuming that was possible and there was general consensus around that subject there is nothing that stops the National Assembly from amending the constitution to say the national election will be held in 2016 but that is a very farfetched proposition.”
The proposal to sway the people not to have an election in the name of general consensus is another subtle plan to keep the cartel in power and is being considered among themselves, sources have indicated to Zambia Reports.