A dark cloud hangs over Zambia again after the passing of its fifth President Michael Chilufya Sata in London on October 28.
The late Sata becomes the second president to die in office, after the cold hand of death robbed the copper-rich Southern African country of its leader Levy Patrick Mwanawasa in August 2008.
Popularly known as King cobra among the locals for his tough-talking and action-oriented style of leadership, Sata’s demise has left the nation in a somewhat political dilemma.
Who takes over the reins of power and what next for a country known as an oasis of peace, is the question on the lips of many.
Sata’s death has no doubt caused uncertainty in the country, in particular, his party the Patriotic Front where officials have been embroiled in a leadership tug of war since news of his death broke out two weeks ago.
At this stage the divisions in the party are no secret any more, causing people in some circles to believe the ruling PF may fail to retain the presidency if the squabbles are not amicably resolved as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, despite appeals forparty officials to hold their guns until their leader was buried, some so-called cartels within the party have been unrelenting in their quest for the top seat, mudslinging one another, among other things.
They have conspicuously continued pushing their once-hidden agendas shamelessly, sparking condemnation from the public, opposition political parties, the Church and other stakeholders.
Sadly even as Sata was being interred at Embassy Park on Tuesday November 11, the infighting and jostling for leadership raged on but it remains to be seen what will come out of this feud.
Fears of uncertainty in the former British colony that boasts 50 years of peace have been heightened by divisions in some opposition parties, thus making it somehow difficult to tell who takes over as the next president. The likelihood of widespread violence, however, remains a doubt because of the peaceful nature of Zambians.
For many, Sata will be cherished as a determined man of action, a shrewd politician who initiated massive developmental projects in various sectors of the economy.
Sata’s passion for education can be seen in the fact that he pledged to increase accommodation space for students at University of Zambia, Mulungushi University and Evelyn Hone College by constructing more hostels at these institutions.
For the mining industry, Sata will be remembered for ushering changes to the mines tax regimes through the country’s 2015 National Budget, obviously as way of ensuring that locals benefited more from the country’s minerals, a view he held even before ascending to the presidency.
But these changes have since sparked misgivings among the mining houses based in the country who feel such plans will stifle investment and their job creation drives, prompting some to engage the Zambian government over the matter.
Locally, Sata won accolades for suspending the auctioning of emeralds abroad, insisting they be sold within so that earnings from the same could benefit the local economy.
This is perhaps one area he proved his critics internally and abroad wrong as his decision has already started bearing fruits, at least according to local media and experts.
It remains to be seen if his vision for the nation will be kept alive.