Cabinet ministers in Zambia have appointed Vice President Guy Scott to serve as an interim-president of the African country, making him Africa’s first white head of state since apartheid.
The news of his appointment was announced on Thursday, following the death of 77-year-old President Michael Sata at King Edward VII Hospital, where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Cabinet Secretary Roland Msiska waited roughly 10 hours before relaying the news of Sata’s death in a televised speech.
Cabinet ministers met on Wednesday to discuss and appoint a temporary successor.
Zambian constitution dictates that Scott — who Sata appointed vice president in 2011 — serve as president for a period of 90 days. During that time, he is expected to arrange a new presidential election.
Scottish born Scott will not qualify to run for the full five-year presidential term because his parents were not born in Zambia.
Before joining Sata’s Patriotic Front party, the Cambridge trained economist served as Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture.
Sata appointed Defense Minister Edgar Lungu as acting president before he left for the U.K. last week. Lungus is believed to be a front-runner for the PF party in the upcoming presidential election.
Sata is the copper rich country’s second sitting leader to die before the end of his term. President Levy Mwanawasa died six years ago in a Parisian hospital.