THE son of a Lanarkshire jam-maker has become the first white leader of an African nation since the days of apartheid in South Africa.
Guy Scott, a white Zambian whose parents emigrated in the 1920s, has been appointed acting president following the death of 77-year-old Michael Sata.
The 70-year-old will lead the southern African nation until elections are held within 90 days.
He has previously insisted he harbours no ambitions to take the top job in Zambian politics, and analysts say the fact his parents were born outside Zambia means he could not become a fully empowered president.
Even so, his temporary stewardship of the nation is significant, given he has become the first white leader of an African country since FW de Klerk.
In a national radio address, Dr Scott said: “Elections for the office of president will take place within 90 days. In the interim, I am the acting president.
“The period of national mourning started today. We will miss our beloved president and commander.”
Dr Scott is part of a well-known Carluke family with industrial connections that continue to this day. His grandfather, Robert Scott, was part of the family who founded the town’s R&W Scott’s Jamworks, known locally as the ‘“jeelyworks”. His father, Alec, was also involved in the business before he left Scotland for the town of Livingstone in Zambia in 1927.
Mr Sata died shortly after 11pm on Tuesday at London’s King Edward VII hospital, where he was being treated, cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said.
Rumours that Mr Sata was seriously ill had gripped Zambia since he largely dropped out of public view months ago, with opposition groups criticising the government for not releasing details about his condition.
From June onwards, the president had made only a few brief appearances and missed summits, including a scheduled speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. Last Friday, he missed national celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Zambian independence.
His successor’s political views have sparked controversy down the years, especially his remarks about the Robert Mugabe regime.
In an interview with the Spectator two years ago, Dr Scott referred to the Zimbabwean president as “Bob” and praised his leadership.
Recalling Mr Mugabe’s performance at a trade summit in Malawi, he said: “You have this bloke presented to you as the local nutter, yet he was tremendously compos mentis.
“He spoke brilliantly. He was very clever. He nearly had the US ambassador crying into his tea, impressed with wonderment.”
Speaking to a newspaper last year, he also caused upset with some remarks, saying: “I like a lot of South Africans but they really think they’re the bees’ knees and actually they’ve been the cause of so much trouble in this part of the world.”
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