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Zambia appoints Africa's first white leader in 20 years

Zambia has appointed Guy Scott to be its interim leader until an election can be held, making him the continent's first white head of state in 20 years.

Zambia's new interim leader Guy Scott Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

Guy Scott, a Cambridge-educated economist born to Scottish parents, was previously vice president in the central African country.

His appointment follows the death of Zambia's President Michael Sata in a London hospital following an unspecified illness.

Mr Scott, 70, is the first white head of state in an African country since South Africa's apartheid government of F.W. de Klerk. He is not eligible to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections due to citizenship restrictions.

Zambian President Michael Sata dies in London aged 77

Zambian President Michael Sata has died in London aged 77, a government spokesman has confirmed..

"It is true. We lost the president. The acting president will make a statement soon," a source said.

Zambian President Michael Sata Credit: Reuters

Cabinet Secretary Roland Msiska confirmed on state television: "As you are aware the president was receiving medical attention in London.

"The head of state passed on in October 28. President Sata's demise is deeply regretted. The nation will be kept informed on burial arrangements."

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'Great son of the world, Madiba showed us the way'

Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda paid a lengthy tribute to Nelson Mandela's life, interspersed with humorous quips and a crowd-pleasing jig to start.

"This great son of the world - not only of South Africa - Madiba showed us the way. Whether you are white, black, yellow or brown, you are all God's children," he said.

Over-running his time allocation, Kaunda joked that the master of ceremonies was "chasing me away" - but he insisted it was important to remember that even in death, Nelson Mandela is "still Madiba, our leader."

He also thanked Winnie Mandela for her life's work with her former husband.