Wednesday, December 17, 2014 3:32 pm
A majority of Zambia’s cabinet ministers called on acting president Guy Scott to step down Wednesday, as factional fighting erupted in the ruling party ahead of elections next month.
Fourteen out of a total of 17 ministers attended a news conference to announce that they had passed a vote of no-confidence in Scott — Africa’s first white leader in 20 years.
“We urge Dr Scott to immediately resign from his position as acting president on moral grounds,” Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba announced.
The move comes after opposing factions within the ruling Patriotic Front nominated competing candidates for presidential elections on January 20.
A faction loyal to Scott chose late president Michael Sata’s nephew Miles Sampa as its candidate earlier this month, while Defence Minister Edgar Lungu was named by a breakaway group.
Lungu has since claimed the party presidency, but this is disputed and is the subject of a court case.
On Tuesday, Lungu said he had dropped Scott from the position of party vice president after Scott called for election nomination papers not to be accepted until the court resolved the dispute.
The split erupted into the open after Sata’s death in October, when vice president Scott took over as interim president and sacked Lungu as secretary general of the party — before reversing the decision after riots broke out.
“Dr Scott hates me for one reason or another,” Lungu told supporters after launching his own presidential bid. “It’s like Dr Scott wants the party to die.”
Scott told delegates at a party conference to ignore Lungu’s candidacy, and Sampa was elected over four other candidates including Sata’s widow Christine.
Scott cannot stand for the presidency himself as his parents were not born in Zambia.