Tuesday, November 4, 2014 8:35 am
Zambia’s acting White president Guy Scott, who says black blood runs through his veins, has fired the governing party’s secretary general, fuelling speculations whether he wants to run for the presidency and some protests.
The sacked party scribe, Edgar Lungu is said to be a frontrunner in the race to succeed late President Michael Sata who died in London of an unspecified ailment. He will be buried on November 11.
The election to pick his successor will hold within 90 days.
Lungu, who is also justice and defence minister, had been tapped by Sata as caretaker leader when the late 77-year-old left the country for medical treatment last month.
Lungu said on Tuesday the decision to dismiss him as the ruling party’s secretary-general was illegal.
“The is illegal and highly provocative under the current environment in which we are mourning our late president,” Lungu said in a statement read out on state ZNBC Radio on Tuesday.
Scott late on Monday named his replacement as Davies Mwila. The latter turned down the appointment.
“In our tradition it is taboo for us to do anything like that before you bury,” Mwila said separately on ZNBC Radio.
Lungu said he has called for an emergency meeting of the Patriotic Front central committee on Tuesday to discuss his dismissal.
Police in Lusaka on Monday night fired tear gas to stop protests by students and PF members who took to the streets over Lungu’s dismissal.
Lungu had often stepped into Sata’s shoes as ‘acting president’ in the last year. Many Zambians had considered him the person most likely to win the presidential elections that are due by the end of January.
Other possible contenders include former justice minister Wynter Kabimba, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda and Sata’s son Mulenga, who is currently mayor of Lusaka, a position his father occupied in the 1980s.
The decision by Scott, a Cambridge-educated economist, to dismiss Lungu from the helm of the PF is also likely to fuel speculation he may seek to run for the presidency, regardless of the constitutional restrictions.
But he is constitutionally barred from running for president because his parents were born in Scotland.