Zambian President Michael Sata Dies at 77

Zambian President Michael Sata, who was nicknamed “King Cobra” for his fiery comebacks and larger-than-life personality, has died. He was 77.

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Sata had traveled to London for unspecified medical treatment last week, and died at a hospital there yesterday evening. Officials did not disclose a cause of death.

“It’s shocking, it’s devastating, because I knew he was sick. But I did not know it was going to end this way,” said George Zulu, permanent secretary at the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “(We) lost a man who devoted his whole life to his country.”

Vice President Guy Scott has been appointed acting president, Roland Msiska, secretary to Zambia’s Cabinet, told CNN today.

He will serve for 90 days until elections are held for a new president. Scott, who is of Scottish descent, will be the first white head of state in sub-Saharan Africa since apartheid.

He is ineligible to be elected president because his parents were not born in Zambia, Msiska said.

Before Scott, Defense Minister Edgar Lungu was appointed as acting president when Sata left for London.

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