Michael Sata – The 5th Zambian President

Michael Sata, popularly known as ‘King Cobra’, became the 5th democratically elected Zambian president on 23rd September 2011.

Sata was born in 1937, in Mpika, Northern Province of Zambia. A catholic, he is married to a doctor and has 8 children. Michael C Sata worked as a police officer, railway man and was a trade unionist during Northern Rhodesia. In 1963 during the colonial days, he joined active politics.

image 1 Michael Chilufya Sata

After independence in 1964, he worked his way through the ranks of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), and in 1985, he was appointed Lusaka City governor. He made his mark as governor by building bridges, patching up roads and cleaning the streets of the city. He also served as Kabwata Member of Parliament (Lusaka).

When the call for multi-party politics grew louder, he left UNIP and joined the Movement for multiparty democracy (MMD), in 1991. That same year, the MMD won the elections and F.T.J. Chiluba (MMD), took over from Kenneth Kaunda (UNIP) as President of Zambia.

Under the Chiluba government, he held various ministerial posts. He was local government minister, labor minister and for a short spell, health minister. In 1995 he was appointed as minister without portfolio, the third highest position in the country. At every ministry he worked, he left the legacy of ‘shaking things up’ and making things work.

In 2001, Michael C Sata fell out with Chiluba when the later chose Levy P Mwanawasa as his successor. He formed the Patriotic Front (PF) and challenged Mwanawasa in the 2001 elections and lost. His party managed only one parliamentary seat. Undaunted, he continued campaigning. He stood against Mwanawasa in the 2006 elections but lost again. His supporters took to the streets. The initial results had put Michael Sata ahead only to reverse the figures later after the counting proceeded. However, final results put him in second position.

On April 25, 2008, he suffered a heart attack and was flown to South Africa for treatment. He returned later and declared himself fit. Elections were held to fill the gap of the late President Mwanawasa. He stood against Rupiah Banda and lost by 2 percent. Again the initial results had shown he was leading.

Having assessed his areas of strength, he went out and campaigned on issues of unemployment and poverty. The youths and the unemployed make up most of his support base and they embraced his messages. His popularity in urban areas is unquestionable. The September 2011 elections were closely tied between the incumbent Rupiah Banda and Michael Sata.

The Zambian elections in which Michael C Sata became victorious were held on 20th September 2011.

According to results released at about 01:34 hours on 23rd September 2011, Sata polled 1,150,045 or 43 percent of the votes against his closest rival Rupiah B Banda who had 961,796 or 36.1 percent of the total votes.

Sata was declared winner after counting votes in only 143 out of 150 constituencies as the balance of 7 constituencies would not have had any effect even if in the unlikely event that all the balance of votes would go to Rupiah B Banda.

The inauguration of Michael Chilufya Sata as the 5th Zambian president started in the afternoon at about 14: 30hrs and finished at 15:00 hrs. Present to witness the occasion was the first Zambian president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and the outgoing president, Rupiah B Banda.

The Death of President Michael Sata

The President died in London where he was being treated in a private hospital. Sata, 77, left Zambia for medical treatment on 19 October 2014.

He was admitted at King Edward Hospital Beaumont, Central London. He was accompanied by his wife and family members. On 28th October 2014 the President died around 23 hours.


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