Zambia's White President And What It Says About Africa

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Comrades. Guy Scott -- Zambia's president for 90 days shares a laugh with Mugabe

[Publisher's Commentary]

Zambia has a White president named Guy Scott for at least the next 90 days until elections to succeed president Michael Sata who died this week in a London hospital of an undisclosed illness.

Even though Scott wasn't elected -- he was promoted by virtue of being the vice president -- a few observations can still be made.

The ugly era of decades of European colonial exploitation and oppression in Africa is becoming a distant memory to the younger generation. Rapid decolonization, at least in terms of flag independence --replacing White rulers and administrators with Africans-- occurred through much of the 1960s.

There is absolutely no way that a White man could have been appointed a vice president in an African country during the 1970s when the continent was still fighting remaining outposts of European colonialism in Rhodesia, in Mozambique, in Angola and in apartheid South Africa.

Scott's elevation in Zambia also explodes the myth that Africans resent Europeans generally as a people; Africans rejected and hated European colonialism, racism and exploitation. Zambia is also beneficiary of a relatively stable and mature political environment nurtured by former founding President Kenneth Kaunda.

Guy Scott is also an exceptional person of European ancestry. He has not succumbed to the U.K.-orchestrated demonization campaign against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. London for decades has claimed its sanctions regime against Mugabe's government is to punish him for gutting democracy in Zimbabwe.

This cannot be true. If the British government cared about democracy, the rule of law, and human lives in Africa why is it the biggest supporter of Africa's two leading tyrants Uganda's Gen. Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Gen. Paul Kagame?

Gen. Kagame's and Gen. Museveni's multiple invasions of Congo, seeking to plunder resources, have led to the deaths of as many as seven million Congolese. Britain, together with the U.S., remains the chief financial and military supporter of these dictators.

Scott has called Mugabe intelligent and extremely articulate. He says Mugabe must be understood in the context of the colonial period he was raised up in and the pervasive racism of that era;  Scott himself grew up in what was then Northern Rhodesia and says he recalls how rabid the racism was. Simply put, even as young Africans look beyond the colonial era, Britain still punishes Zimbabwe for the land reform program, as if it can ever be reversed.

Scott also knows how damaging the sanctions on neighboring Zimbabwe have been on Zambia's own economy. Perhaps in the 90 days he has of executive power he could go on a global tour including to the U.K. and U.S. to make the case for the need to lift sanctions.

The elevation of Scott, and the fact that there haven't been protests in Zambia and elsewhere in Africa, also speaks loudly about how disappointed Africans have become in the current crop of leaders and their failures.

Many of the leaders are mediocre and have no vision for the continent. They can't inspire young Africans and they increase the sense of despair.  A few months ago African presidents gathered at a special session of the African Union: top on the agenda was to vote for immunity for themselves from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Gone are the days of Pan-African visionaries, statesmen or presidents, such as: Nelson Mandela; Kwame Nkrumah; Tom Mboya; Sekou Toure; Patrice Lumumba; Julius Nyerere; Gamal Abdel Nassar; Jomo Kenyatta; Milton Obote; Samora Machel; Thomas Sankara; and, many others.

And when Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea were suddenly devastated by the Ebola outbreak, it wasn't an African country, but tiny Cuba that responded quickly by dispatching 461 doctors to West Africa to help fight the disease.

A continent endowed with the world's most coveted natural and mineral resources contains on average the highest rates of poverty.

So one can understand why Zambians and many younger Africans yawn at the news that there's a White president of an African country for the next 90 days.

There are bigger challenges and priorities faced by the continent beyond having a White man as president and younger Africans are posing this question to leaders: what have you done for the continent lately?

 

 

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