Africa

Zambians online divided on legacy of 'King Cobra'

Michael Sata gestures upon arrival at Solwezi airport before addressing supporters at an election campaign meeting in September Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Sata died at King Edward VII hospital in London

The death of Zambian President Michael Sata has met with mixed reactions from the country's netizens.

Comments have been posted on Twitter and in comments on Zambia's leading websites.

No tears

Several online users criticized the secrecy that had surrounded the late leader's health problems.

On the Lusaka Times website, user "The Prince" wrote: "[Ruling party] PF should explain this. How did our president die from a medical check-up? Somebody has to be answerable. It's unacceptable that a head of state's health has been kept in secrecy. He would have stepped down on medical grounds. Now we have a power crisis and confusion."

Chris Chilufya Katongo shared this view, saying: "The whole thing was handled badly from start to finish. Facts and the truth were substituted with lies… Zambia has gone to the dogs".

On Twitter, user @Gndhlovu said: "President Michael Sata's family and close associates should have let him step down and allowed to rest and recover quietly."

There are also those who welcomed the news of the president's death, such as user Mphendula Kayaula on the Lusaka Times website: "Perhaps the country can start recovering from the mass hysteria that put this most unsuitable of men into the highest office just over three years ago."

King Cobra, the Hero

Others defended the late leader's legacy: "You fought your way through and ruled Zambia as a president. King Cobra, the Hero. May your soul rest in eternal peace. I salute you even in death, you achieved your goal for presidency", Mapalosittercares writes on the Zambia Reports website.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Sata attended the opening of Zambian parliament on 9th September

"People may say negative things but that does not change the fact that our president is gone. One question you need to ask yourself is: are you right before God if you were to die today?" David Mudenda said on the same website.

"This hurts, and it hurts bad", lamented user @DatAfricanGirl on Twitter.

Another Twitter user, @ChipoAutumn, remained hopeful: "Our president is dead but our peace is not."

White president

The fact that Zambia's Vice-President, and Mr Sata's possible successor, Guy Scott, is a white man, has also captured the imagination of the country's netizens.

"Fare thee well Michael Sata. Africa may now have a white head of state", twitter user @decolanga said.

"Once the VP takes over as #ZambianPresident then equation will be balanced. Black president in America and white president in #Zambia," said another Twitter user, @martobono.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott has been named acting leader

"Guy Scott is not white! He is a normal #Zambian! Just way lighter than ya'll. Scott for president!" said user @xecka.

Another Twitter user, @malama_mukonde agreed: "Zambia is the definition of ubuntu (human kindness). We want Guy Scott give him to us #GuyScottMuntuWesu we don't care about his skin colour."

A piece on the Zambia Watchdog website, headlined "Another sick, old man has taken over as Zambia's president", generated a lot of comment.

"Zambia is a failed country. Fifty years after kicking out the British, we have a white president!" user jbwalwa said.

Another user, JElc, wrote: "We are not racist... but Scott is white. This Guy shouldn't stand."

Mr.Zambia took a different view: "Guy Scott will be the 6th president of Zambia. I wish him well. He will need to deliver a new non-defective constitution and economic policies that grow the economy."

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