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Perspective: What was Guy Scott doing in Pretoria?

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments,Wealth Watch |
Guy Scott

Guy Scott

Scott One/3

Vice-President Guy Scott was hardly the most appropriate official representative of Zambia at the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, May 24, writes Zambian Eye’s Special Correspondent. It was ill-advised and a diplomatic blunder of sorts to have allowed him to represent the country.

In-fact it is surprising that he himself went along in spite of his publicly expressed disdain for that country. Perhaps he has been to too many such parties and can now no longer resist one more! Still, his having been there is indicative of at best a crisis in standards or simply the absence of them and as always in those circumstances mediocrity becomes the standard.

That Dr. Scott could be the choice only illustrates the casual irresponsibility and the failure of professional evaluation with which some decisions are made.

Diplomatic considerations precluded him from such a role. He went viral and made it abundantly clear in that interview with the UK Guardian that he “hated the South Africans” and that he considered them “backward.”

How can any person with such trenchant views about that country ever be even the choice to represent Zambia at a South African function, in South Africa? When he spoke to the Guardian he minced no words and had nothing positive to say about that country or its leadership. He of course curried favour with his boss here but the South Africans could only have been disgusted.

His outburst ensured that he could not be effective even if he wanted to be and gatherings of that nature are really not for champagne alone. They are important networking occasions and Dr. Scott with all his baggage was an inappropriate official representative.

One in fact wonders whether he was welcome at all or was just a sufferance! The South Africans must have been spooked by his presence and role-a man who is on record despising them! It was truly bizarre.

Where decisions are carefully evaluated, there could have been no question of sending such a man as the official representative and what did it actually mean – that Zambia fully shares his hate for South Africans and endorses his patronizing views about their backwardness?

Is that the message Zambia was sending to one of its largest trading partners and certainly its largest in the region? What can she hope to reap by this- goodwill and better relations? Fat chance!

Dr. Scott was the wrong man in all respects because it is clear from the same Guardian interview that he has no knowledge of even recent South African history. Of South Africa, he asked and very earnestly: But who liberated you?

But that such a question can be asked at all and be portrayed to be reasonable inquiry is truly astonishing. In a country where those who tried to claim their birthright were all the time and in no time at all mown down by machine gun fire how could that ever be a question?

There was the shocking Sharpeville massacre of 1960. The Soweto uprising of 1976 changed and increased the tempo of resistance but still many unarmed secondary school age black South Africans paid with their lives.

Scott Two/3

Ordinary Zambians keenly followed these events and were clearly more aware of them than the exalted Dr. Scott. They went on to name a number places especially in Lusaka as Soweto in memory of the uprising. Spontaneously they named a township and market and nobody has managed to change that. All have had to fall in line-except of Dr. Scott!

There were very many South Africans who paid with their lives for the freedom of their country. Some even lived in Lusaka like Cassius Maake who was gunned down in cold blood by a death squad that waylaid him in Swaziland. The list is long.

If it is true indeed that Dr. Scott doesn’t know who liberated South Africa then it is only because he doesn’t want to know or it simply doesn’t matter to him-after all he hates them!

The fact however is that the people of South Africa stood up very firmly to claim their rights and despite the violence they faced remained steadfast. They are a shining and proud example of standing up to fight the good fight and they won!

Would Dr. Scott still be at sea if many of those who gave up their lives in these encounters which were always unequal were like him of Scottish origin, would he still not have known who the liberators were? The question has to be asked because sometimes the problem can be skin colour as some white people don’t consider people of colour to be human.

Zambia sent the wrong man to South Africa-make no mistake. His attitude and stated positions plus his professed ignorance of the basic facts of that country made him completely unsuited for the role of official representative. He is not the man who can build relations with South Africa. He can only destroy them with his careless talk and uninformed positions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have advised and not allowed a situation where the country seemed to endorse the man’s misguided and uninformed positions.

Dr. Scott’s disgraceful interview itself came around a curious period when the South African Mission in Lusaka seemed to have been under some surveillance in clear contravention of the Vienna Convention because of fears that the South African Government would intervene to forestall the arrest of former President Rupiah Banda by the PF government.

Supporters of the government fielded attacks of the South African leadership labeling it corrupt and there were newspaper reports of the goings and comings at the Mission that never seemed to have been written by any reporter. It was a sickening time and the campaign got quite cheap and dirty before it died down.

But this was all defensive stuff. The PF government policy was from the outset to arrest and terrorize as many of the key operatives of the outgoing administration as possible and it is clear that they would have found every pretext to arrest Mr. Banda – South African intervention or no.

It didn’t help that Johannesburg was the venue of one of the earliest press conferences by the opposition to call regional and international attention to the increasing lawlessness of the government of Zambia.

Scott Three/3

Still, Dr. Scott went too far as he normally does to cover up his tracks. He for instance told the national assembly in November 2013 that the draft new constitution would be released by the end of the year and also that the ten copies that the government was insisting on were for purely ceremonial reasons.

None of this turned out true. As that became clear, the same man now went on the offensive to justify the withholding of the constitution. Well, he may be able to cover up his tracks in Zambia but it is not possible to cover up his outrageous interview and the South Africans obviously remember. So, why was he allowed to be the official representative? It was not fair to the majority of Zambians who don’t share his warped views. They should have been protected by passing him over.

  Note: Following Dr. Scott’s undemocratic remarks, the South African government summoned the Zambian envoy in that country. The story can be read by clicking here.



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