Leaders pay tribute to Zambia’s Michael Sata


Michael Sata

Tributes have been paid to President Michael Sata of Zambia, who died in a London Hospital on 28 October. The 77-year-old, who had ruled Zambia since 2011, had been suffering from an undisclosed illness for some time.

Fears for his health had increased after he repeatedly missed state functions, and he left Zambia on 19 October for treatment at London’s King Edward VII Hospital. Vice President Guy Scott has been appointed acting President and has called presidential elections, scheduled for 20 January.

Condolences were offered by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma. Both praised Sata’s commitment to the people of Zambia and the country’s history of democratic presidential elections. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond added: “He played a commanding role in the public life of his country over three decades, as Governor of Lusaka, as the holder of several ministerial positions in the 1990s, as the main opposition leader and finally as President.”

Sata formed the Patriotic Front Party after splitting with the Movement for Multiparty Democracy in 2001 and subsequently contested three presidential elections – in 2006, 2008 and 2011 – the latter of which saw him appointed President.

He often stirred up controversy in election campaigns, particularly with criticism of his political opponents and Chinese copper mining companies operating in Zambia, earning him the nickname King Cobra. He was equally hailed as fiercely anti-colonial and anti-apartheid.


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