Zambia’s cabinet ministers have demanded that acting President Guy Scott step down from office, a day after they approved a vote of no confidence against him, according to information minister Joseph Katema.
Fourteen ministers present at the meeting agreed to Scott’s removal from office after accusing him of failure to support the candidate of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and thwarting the group’s efforts to win next month’s presidential by-election.
“They apologized to the people of Zambia for having misplaced their trust in Honorable Dr. Guy Scott, and put him as acting president of the Republic of Zambia,” said Katema. “He has breached the trust of firstly Patriot Front as a party and the government of the republic of Zambia, because it is evident that every move he takes, it is putting a risk to the security and peace of this nation.”
He said the cabinet ministers were united in their decision to vote against Mr. Scott to as well as his role as acting leader of the governing PF.
“As a matter of fact all the cabinet ministers who were present at the time at cabinet meeting, which he called in the morning, did endorse that vote of no confidence. Short of only five who were not present,” said Katema.
Mr. Scott has rejected the ministers’ decision, however, saying there is no constitutional provision that calls for the removal of an acting president.
Zambia local media quoted Scott as saying “I will not be blackmailed to allow the illegal use of government resources for partisan interests. I will abide by the law.”
Information Minister Katema says the acting president took several unilateral actions that undermine the PF’s ability to win next month’s vote.
“He is actually fighting and provoking the people of Zambia by trying to frustrate at all cost the endeavors of the Patriotic Front to come up with a candidate who has been countrywide accepted and that is what everybody is expecting. But he is hell bent and wants to make sure that he frustrates the nomination of this one candidate for the Patriotic Front,” said Katema.
Political observers say the spillover of the ongoing PF infighting is hampering government operations to serve the people.
Katema denied there is squabbling within the party.
“There is actually no infighting if you look at it very closely. There is only one Guy Scott fighting his party, the Patriotic Front,” Katema said.
Zambians are scheduled to vote in January to elect a new president following the death of Michael Sata. The constitution mandates that the Electoral Commission of Zambia, (ECZ) organize a fresh election within 90 days following the death of a sitting president.