ZAMBIA’S interim president, Guy Scott, spoke too soon back in 2011 soon after the general election that saw him appointed Vice President.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said there was no hint of any resentment that a White man had taken up the position, saying, “I have long suspected that Zambia is moving from a post-colonial to a cosmopolitan condition. People’s minds are changing. They are no longer sitting back and dwelling on what was wrong about colonialism…”
Three short years later, he knows he was wrong, as is everybody else who thought Zambians are “colour blind.” They may be lauded for keeping it together following the death of their President Michael Sata on October 28, but the truth is that Zambia and indeed the rest of Africa, is not ready for a White President and you only have to look at Scott’s suspension from the country’s ruling party, Patriotic Front (PF), announced Friday.
The power struggle has been well documented and while “unconstitutional conduct” was cited as the cause for his suspension, I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t think this is all about race
When he was sworn in on October 29, nearly every media outlet pointed out that Scott is the first “White Man” to rule a democratic African country, reminding us at the same time of F. W. de Klerk, the last White president of then apartheid South Africa.
What if they had just announced that Zambia had a new president and let the pictures speak for themselves, after all, Zambians to whom he’s accountable already knew his heritage?
Scott’s parents could have been born on Zambian soil and he could have married a dark skinned Bemba girl and he would still be called “White Boy.”
The strange thing is that we embrace “White” people when it suits us.
Before Oscar Pistorius’ world fell apart, he was very much our son. We will not let anyone forget that professional racing cyclist and 2013 Tour de France winner, Chris Froome was “made in Kenya”.
However when these same people are in trouble, want to be leaders, suddenly, it’s “Oh wait, these people aren’t really African.”
The racism card
Then we play the racism card at every opportunity. Time and again, we have called the West out for “neglecting” African crises, most recently accusing them of not reacting quickly enough or adequately to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
We get vocal when Black actresses, actors, sportsmen and women, models and other professionals trying to make it overseas are denied opportunities, paid significantly less than their colleagues; are racially abused as happens often to “our” talented footballers or when they don’t make the Ballon d’Or list when we believe they should; and cry foul when we are denied visas and citizenship in the developed world. However, we think it is fine to exclude people like Scott on account of their race.
The debate is raging on social media and here are some, mostly Zambian thoughts on this race that could throw Zambia into turmoil:
Stephen Mushili : At least we (Zambia) have started making headlines. Kudos!
Philip Okumu: Saw it coming.
Mullah James : Did (Robert) Mugabe order that?
Clement Prisdo Martee: Stupid decision, patriotic fools! (PF)
Albert Freeman-Aikins Ras Barca : African Democrazy!
Sendoi Likwasi: I need more popcorn. This Zambian political movie is going to hit top ten!
Obed Kofi Liverpoo : Oh Zambia, where on earth is a sitting president sacked?
Clive Nyambe: Silly cows, he has not been sacked but suspended.
Josh Josh: TIA-This Is Africa.
Gich Mwangi: Sorry Mr Scott. Folks ain’t loyal.
Eduvie Donald : Oh Mama Africa…Is there any remedy to the million problems in Africa?
Cedric Daniel: And all the White people go, “Is it because he is White?”
Jem Valour Chosen: I thought they wanted a White president!
Menker Casey: We thought Zambia was on the right side of history but unfortunately, it’s taking the monkey’s path by acting racist.
James Faith Phiri : Mind your language. Do you want us to take the pig’s path?
Young Okaash Cadde: Let him go and rule his fellow Whites, not us.
Sam Phodogoma : Guy Scott is a very lucky man. He will enjoy a quiet Christmas.
Martin Lungu: If there ever was a comparison between wild hungry hyenas and power hungry politicians, it’s this. Zambia, my beloved country.
Patrick Lee Racists : They only did it because of the color of his skin. That is the definition of racism.
Kobamelo Sello: What racism? This is Africa. It will be led by the sons and daughters of our ancestors.
Katumba Arthur : Now they want to elect their relatives who will entertain corruption. Having a White president would have been better and different from countries like Uganda and Angola where the presidents are letting their families and tribesmen own and sell public assets.
Dotun Olorunyomi Awodeyi: Bad move against the man. Very likely he has refused to allow them to loot the treasury.
Wezhira Onwell Marasha: Africans rejoiced when Barack Obama was elected President of the USA but they can’t have a White man as acting President of Zambia! Shame on you, hypocrites.
Mulenga Mercy Mubanga: Wealth is a funny thing. You can’t entrust it to anyone and expect them to just watch over it. Remember how the pre-colonial Africans trusted foreigners who came in the name of good with their wealth? They lost it all and now Africa depends on aid to get by, which aid comes from the wealth Africans thought the foreigners were managing. Don’t judge your own people.
Nelson Hamilton : Nice move, or else he will sell Zambia to his grandfathers once he wins the election. Racism is everywhere. The first Black Parliamentarian in Italy was physically abused in the presence of her fellow Parliamentarians.
Mokone L Komane: Just as it’s popularly said in Italy that there’s no Black Italian, there’s simply no White Zambian.
Precocious De Pre Aquaphox: Probably a good idea. The “Guy” showed signs of dictatorship within a week in office.
Andrew Mwewa : Power-hungry African politicians! The indiscipline instigated by Edgar Lungu and his group will surely haunt them one day!
Edgar James Momoh: Why the double standards when Africans celebrated Barack Obama’s victory?
Martin Manyiel Wugol : Let him go home. Africa is for Africans, as simple as that.
Nan Lyne: Not sure why a White would rule Africa in this era.
Ali Sebakijje: What goes around… The West should know that the era of their leadership in Africa is over. Time for Black Supremacy.
Ifechukwu Chris Ufele: African mentality.
Tumusiime Lawrence: Africa!
Hajj Awwal Kakoledeon: Enjoy African politics Mr Whiteman.
Kasonde Katongo : Come 2015, power failure should be voted out of power. A party that isn’t united can’t run a country. A party that doesn’t understand their own constitution and how it works should not be given a chance to run the country. They couldn’t follow the Zambian Constitution. I feel sorry for Guy Scott, working with power hungry and greedy thugs.
Richard Chimuka: Antagonizing Scott is the wrong move. Government resources would have been spared under him plus a chance for free and fair elections this time.
Richie Harawa: May your Soul Rest in Eternal Peace Michael Chilufya Sata. Zambians miss your leadership.