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Guy Scott has a hot potato in his hands

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Guy Scott

Guy Scott

His Excellency President Guy Scott has made history as the first democratic White President in Africa, writes Maurice Makalu for Zambian Eye.
“White leader appointed in Zambia,” a BBC headline screamed. CNN took note too. “Zambia’s Guy Scott makes history as white leader in Sub-saharan Africa,” their headline read.
They were following in my footsteps… Lol!
I did an article in same regard, applauding Zambia’s respect for constitutional rule which made us rise above colonialism and racism. We made our One Zambia One Nation alive like never before.
It’s a worthy historical moment.

But this celebration may be short lived unless Guy Scott handles the hot potato he holds in his hands wisely.
His crossroads looks pretty much like this: Either unite the PF and the nation behind Sata’s legacy or divide them behind his or Kabimba’s Presidential ambitions – the infamous cartel’s sinister agenda.
This is a hot potato because his propensity, or what would satisfy him most, is a very bad if not dangerous option.

The bad option
The most satisfying thing for him is to take this as a once in a life time opportunity to give a shot at his presidency in an attempt to make even more history. But this is a non-starter and he is smart enough to know that.
Even if technicalities in the Supreme Court Judgment on the parentage clause (Lewanika and others vs Chiluba 1996) may allow him to contest, the PF Central Committee knows he is unsellable, so they would not pick him as their candidate. Not in a million years.
So the next most satisfying move, and the most likely he risks taking, is to have his buddy, Wynter Kabimba, as President.
They will be sure to count on their eulogist friends at Bwinjimfumu and hope against hope that M’membe will compose a tune about Kabimba, melodious and miraculous enough to woo Zambians.
But this path will burn his hands badly.

Reasons Why
To begin with, people know the sinister agenda of the cartel (Kabimba, Scott, M’membe, Nchito, etc). If the people, like Guy Scott, tasked with defending this country from such dangerous schemes fail in their duty, the citizens will do it themselves at the ballot.

Secondly, the fact of Sata (MHSRIP) firing Kabimba shows that Sata saw Kabimba as a wrong chap to give more and more power. It would be betrayal to his legacy to bring him back.
Besides, Kabimba himself showed how unsuitable for power he is. We tasted him and spat him out. It would be foolishness for Guy Scott to think we would return to our vomit.
Just imagine: Sudan became our “friend”!? We even sent youths to “train” there!?
We have refused to vote for Kabimba before; we will be glad to repeat this many times over should Guy Scott try to test our resolve for peace and unity. The same resolve that has helped him make history today.
Thirdly and most importantly, Kabimba is synonymous with militancy and divisiveness. We do not want bloodshed in Zambia. Machinations or experiments to have him bounce back will divide not only the PF and its cabinet, but also unleash pangas on innocent citizens.

Division Is Scott’s and PF’s Nightmare
Given that Scott cannot hire or fire Ministers, a divided cabinet would be a nightmare. Ministers would withdraw their little respect for him, in the process taking away the little legitimacy he seems to have.
The “ceremonial-ness” in his position will then be very obvious for everyone to see.
Before long, global headlines would change to, “Whiteman masquerading as leader in African country.”
A divided cabinet also means a divided party. This would present the greatest difficulty for the PF in taking advantage of incumbency at the presidential by-election, an election they are guaranteed to win because Zambians love continuity.
And make no mistake… to Zambians, that continuity means Michael Sata and his vision.

The Way Forward
Zambians loved Sata and what he stood for to the core. He was a Man of Action let down by the people around him.
It will take decades, if not centuries, for another politician in Zambia to strike as deep a cord as Sata did with the ordinary Zambian.
The wise thing for Guy Scott to do, therefore, is to ride on that – unite PF and the nation behind Sata’s legacy.
His friend called him to come and rule Zambia together. The wise and loyal thing is to continue the vision that brought them together, that made Sata keep him despite pressure from all corners to fire him as veep.
But if Kabimba must play a role, it is to find a mutually acceptable way of tapping into his organizational skills to support whoever the next PF’s guy will be.
Whether we like it or not, the death of Sata means the end of dinosaur politicians in top jobs.
So this is a watershed moment.
The likes of Chikwanda, Munkombwe, Inonge Wina, etc were even going to resign except they know Scott cannot replace them. So out of responsibility and duty to their country, they will stick around.
Guy Scott’s role is to facilitate a process whereby we can get a good young leader, who should be more of a manager or administrator than politician, backed by an agenda of continuing Sata’s legacy to take us into the new era.

The Edgar Lungu Option
Edgar Lungu seems viable. He has won many hearts and minds, including in villages, when he acted as President.
I discovered this when I called my sister in the village, around 05 hours to inform her that the President was no more. She immediately expressed concern whether we would have a peaceful transition or not and quickly called on God to intervene.
I explained to her that the major concern was, “Would Edgar Lungu handover instruments of power to Guy Scott? He has the Defence Chiefs with him as both Acting President and Defence Minister.”
I knew the constitution required Scott to act in case of vacancy.
What she said next, I think reflects the feelings of many Zambians about Edgar Lungu.
With a sense of ‘knowing’ and calm, she said, “That is not a problem. Lungu will hand over. That man is too wise. Mwaice wandi, uwa mano kumu mwena pa menso. (My young brother, you can tell a wise man by his looks). Lungu is very wise.”
I was stunned! Lungu stunned us all how he handled the Presidency.
The Man of Action removed a militant and divisive leader whom many said was untouchable and designate successor and replaced him with a wise unifying leader who was a no body.
Such was Sata’s quality of leadership and love for this country. We owe it to ourselves to continue it.

So anyway, Guy Scott must facilitate a process of finding a manager (not politician or militant) to lead the PF in the next era.
President Scott must not ruin this opportunity for renewal that the nation faces with his wishes of seeing Kabimba in the top job so that they can settle some scores and put their enemies in their places.
Handle the hot potato properly Mr President. Build; don’t burn or re-ignite already quenched fires.
May God give you wisdom and guide you. We are counting on you.
God bless Zambia.


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