Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has congratulated Zambians on their just-ended elections saying peaceful power transferas opposed to the western bombardment as witnessed in Libya was the only way to build peace in Africa.
He congratulated Dr Guy Scott on his ascension to the office of vice president of Zambia saying there was nothing odd in the development.
The President told delegates in Malawi as he addressed the Comesa Summit plenary Friday that at Independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had five whites in Cabinet – four from the Rhodesian Front of Ian Smith and an independent, the then agriculture minister Dennis Norman.
“We have had demonstrations of peaceful elections, the most recent one being in Zambia, that is the only way you can build peace, and that is the way to go,” the President said as he decried the Nato bombardment in Libya that has claimed thousands of innocent lives.
“To my brother who has been sitting next to me,” referring to Dr Scott: “Marondera where you were in school, the NDP formed in 1960, two years of life before it was banned by Ian Smith. We want to congratulate him for being elected, I think he will be the first white vice president,” the President said to applause from delegates.
“When we had our independence in 1980, we had five whites, four from Ian Smith, the other an independent. Dennis Norman, I think you know him, he was non-political but the others were political.
“We had them in the Cabinet for a start, so it shouldn’t surprise at all, you having been born here but of course Ian Smith and others.
“Well he is dead now and I hope God is resting him in heaven,” President Mugabe said bringing the auditorium down in mirth.
When Dr Scott was appointed Zambia’s vice president, some sections of the right wing media claimed the move was likely to estrange Lusaka from Harare.
They claimed that President Mugabe and his Government were anti-white, a perception the Western media peddled in a bid to brand land reform a racist clampdown on white farmers.
On his part, Dr Scott told the gathering that his party’s name, the Patriotic Front and the clenched fist symbol, were all inspired by and derived from Zanu-PF.
“As you are aware Zambia held its tripartite elections, I can’t stop talking about this, on the 20th, of September 2011 in which the then opposition party, the Patriotic Front, to quote the phrase I stole from His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, he gave me permission to use it this morning, and it worked, the Patriotic Front emerged victorious under the leadership of Mr Michael Chilufya Sata,” Dr
Scott said expressing surprise that the Western world seemed surprised that an African country could organise such a simple thing as a peaceful election.
He then told delegates that he and President Mugabe had come a long way.
“Maybe I could be allowed a little insertion here. We both worked out today that we were both members of the National Democratic Party, in his case 52 years ago, in my case 51 years ago. We were both members of the National Democratic Party in Southern Rhodesia.
“In this case that was 51 years ago. That (the NDP) was the parent of Zimbabwe’s nationalist movement, many, many years ago, that is how we know each other,” Dr Scott said
Dr Scott was named vice president when new president Michael Sata announced his 19-member cabinet last month.
Born in 1944 in Livingstone, Zambia, Dr Scott was educated in Zambia and the then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
His late father, an ally of Zambia’s nationalists founded the African Mail, which is now the Zambia Daily Mail. He studied economics at Cambridge University and holds a PhD in cognitive science from the University of Sussex in England.
Scott joined active politics in 1990 when he joined the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. At its first convention, the MMD elected him chairperson of the agriculture committee.