Guy Scott

For the American jurist and politician, see Guy C. Scott.
Guy Scott
President of Zambia
In office
29 October 2014  25 January 2015
Preceded by Michael Sata
Succeeded by Edgar Lungu
12th Vice President of Zambia
In office
23 September 2011  29 October 2014
President Michael Sata
Preceded by George Kunda
Succeeded by Inonge Wina
Personal details
Born (1944-06-01) 1 June 1944
Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia)
Political party Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (1990–1996)
Patriotic Front (2001–present)
Spouse(s) Charlotte Scott (m. 1994–Present)
Children 4
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge
University of Sussex

Guy Lindsay Scott (born 1 June 1944) is a Zambian politician and was the Acting President of Zambia from October 2014 to January 2015. Scott served as Vice-President of Zambia from 2011 to 2014, and became acting president on the death of President Michael Sata on 28 October 2014.[1][2]

Family and early life

Scott was born in 1944 in Livingstone in Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia). His father, Alec Scott, emigrated to Northern Rhodesia from Scotland in 1927, while his mother, Grace, emigrated from England in 1940. He is the brother of Alexander P Scott (published name of AP Scott), an esteemed scientist, and the winner of the 2014 Breverton Medal, for contributions to fisheries science. [3]

Scott completed his primary and secondary education at Springvale School and Peterhouse Boys' School in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) respectively. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Cambridge University and his Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of Sussex.[1][4] His participation in Zambian politics was inspired by his father, who was an ally of Zambian nationalists and a founder of anti-colonial government newspapers. During the 1950s, his father was a member of the Federal Parliament for Lusaka, standing on an independent ticket.

Professional achievements

After graduating from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1965, Scott joined the government of Zambia, where he served in the Ministry of Finance as a planner. He was also the deputy editor of The Business and Economy of East and Central Africa during this period.

In 1970, Scott set up Walkover Estates. This was an agribusiness venture, which ventured into high-value crops such as irrigated wheat, strawberries, and a wide range off-season vegetables. He then went on to study robotics at Oxford University during the 1980s.

He completed a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sussex and was awarded the doctorate degree in 1986. Scott's research title was "Local and global interpretation of moving images".[5]

Political career

In 1990, Scott joined the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) where he was elected to serve as Chair of the Agriculture Committee at the first convention.

He was elected as Member of Parliament for Mpika on the MMD ticket in the National Assembly during the 1991 general election and was subsequently appointed as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. He presided over a number of policy reforms and was responsible for managing the "drought of the century" in January and February 1992. There was no reserve maize in Zambia and none in southern Africa, so emergency arrangements had to be made to import it from overseas and move it into Zambia on dilapidated rail and road networks. He also oversaw the drought recovery "bumper harvest" of 1992–93.

In 1996, Scott resigned from the MMD to form the Lima Party together with Ben Kapita, the president of the ZNFU. He piloted the merger between the Lima Party and other parties including Dean Mungomba's Zambia Democratic Congress to form the Zambia Alliance for Progress. In 2001, he returned to politics and joined the Patriotic Front, returning to the National Assembly after being elected MP for Lusaka Central in the 2006 general election.


Guy Scott attending the United States–Africa Leaders Summit.

A presidential election was held on 20 September 2011, and final results released on 23 September 2011 showed the Patriotic Front's presidential candidate, Michael Sata, winning over MMD's Rupiah Banda by a large margin. Guy Scott was consequently sworn in as Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia on 29 September 2011, first white Zambian leader after its independence.

Shortly after his election, The Guardian quoted Scott as saying: "I have long suspected 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". In a 2012 meeting with former US President George W. Bush (who sponsors various charity initiatives in Zambia), he said, "when they introduced me as Vice President, he thought they were kidding".[6]

Acting President

After Michael Sata's death on 28 October 2014, Scott became acting president. The constitution of Zambia requires a new election within 90 days to permanently fill the office.[7]

The constitution of Zambia requires that both parents of presidential candidates are "Zambian by birth or descent", thus Scott was considered ineligible to stand in the January 2015 election.[8] The provision was put in place by President Frederick Chiluba to prevent Kenneth Kaunda – whose father was born in what became Malawi – from becoming president.[9] However, a previous judgement by the Zambian Supreme Court, in a similar case in 1998, could have validated him as a potential candidate.[10] Scott did not stand as a presidential candidate for the Patriotic Front.

On 3 November 2014, Scott dismissed Edgar Lungu as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front; however, he reinstated him a day later,[11] after street protests in Lusaka.[12] On 17 December 2014, Scott rejected calls from cabinet members asking him to resign as acting president.[13]

Lungu, standing as the PF candidate, won the January 2015 presidential by-election and succeeded Scott as President on 25 January 2015.[14]

Personal life

Scott married his wife, British-born doctor Charlotte Harland Scott, at a ceremony at the Lusaka Civic Centre in 1994.[15] They currently reside in Lusaka.


  1. 1 2 Laing, Aislinn (29 October 2014). "I am Africa's first white democratic leader, says Zambian vice-president". The Daily Telegraph. Cape Town. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  2. "Cabinet appoints Guy Scott as Interim President – reaction from Gen Miyanda". Lusaka Times. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  3. Namwali Serpell. "Zambians don't care about our new president's skin colour". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  4. "Zambia: 'Guy Scott Profile'". Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  5. John Williams. "Informatics Resource Centre: Item 7447".
  6. "Dr Scott, I presume?". The Spectator. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  7. Zambia's Guy Scott makes history as white president in sub-Saharan Africa, Faith Karimi, CNN, 29 October 2014.
  8. Kim Yi Dionne (29 October 2014). "Another Zambian president dies in office. What happens now?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  9. "BBC News – Guy Scott's rise to Zambia's presidency". BBC News. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  10. "After the Cobra: What does the law say about Vice-President Guy Scott?". 28 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  11. Zambian President Guy Scott in row over Edgar Lungu sacking, BBC News, 4 November 2014.
  12. SAPA. "Zambia: Scott rescinds decision to dismiss Lungu". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  13. "Zambia Cabinet Ministers Ask President Scott to Resign". Reuters. VOA. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  14. Matthew Hill, "Zambian Ruling Party's Edgar Lungu Inaugurated as President", Bloomberg, 25 January 2015.
  15. Zimba, Jack (2014-11-20). "Interview - Charlotte Scott: I was the cheekiest child". Jack Zimba. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
Political offices
Preceded by
George Kunda
Vice President of Zambia
Succeeded by
Inonge Wina
Preceded by
Michael Sata
President of Zambia

Succeeded by
Edgar Lungu
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