Zambian president Michael Sata dies in London after heart attack
The 77-year-old Zambian president Michael Sata died on Tuesday 28th October in London’s King Edward VII hospital, where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
Sata left Zambia for medical treatment in London on 19th October, accompanied by his wife and other family members.
Due to his gradually deteriorating health he missed a scheduled speech at the UN National Assembly last month. After his departure, Zambia’s defence minister Edgar Lungu became the acting president and had to lead the celebrations of Zambia’s 50th year of independence from the UK.
Sata was elected to presidency in 2011 after serving as a governor of Lusaka in the mid-eighties. He earned an excellent reputation and was nicknamed “King Cobra” because of his sharp tongue and no-nonsense manner.
Born on 6th July 1937, Sata worked in different roles: police officer, trade unionist during colonial rule, railway-platform sweeper in London’s Victoria station, before entering Zambian politics.
According to the country’s constitution, a re-election is scheduled after a period of ninety days. Analysts deem the vice-president Guy Scott stands strong chances but is ineligible to run in a presidential election as his parents were not born in Zambia.
Cabinet minister Roland Msiska released a statement shortly after the president’s death and said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I address you today, to inform the nation that our beloved president and leader, His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, has passed on.”
Condolences and tributes have been paid from the president of Uganda, the president of Somalia and Britain’s foreign secretary.
Sata is survived by his wife and son who were present by his bedside in his last moments.