Profile – Michael Chilufya Sata, President of Zambia
Date of Birth: 1937
Place of Birth: Mpika
Michael Chilufya Sata is the new President of Zambia. He was declared winner by Chief Justice Ernest Sakala after polling 43% of the vote with just seven constituencies left to be counted.
Neither age nor ill-health seem to dampen the fire in the belly of Zambian Patriotic leader Michael Sata. Born 1937, ‘King Cobra’ has lost none of his bite, even after losing presidential elections in 2001, 2006 and 2008.
Michael Sata was born in Mpika, Zambia (then a British protectorate under the colonial name of Northern Rhodesia) in 1936. He is the biological son of Sata Langford Mubanga and Bukali Kabuswe from the Bisa tribe in this rural district of Northern Province. Sata is a family man and devout catholic who attends the vernacular mass at his local parish Saint Ignatius in Lusaka every Sunday at 08:30 hours. As one of his subtle principles Sata does not drink bottled water giving his reason that he will not do so “until all Zambians have equal access to clean water.”
Sata trained and served as a police officer during the Northern Rhodesia colonial administration and was the most senior African officer in the police establishment. He also trained as a pilot in Russia. After leaving formal employment he ventured into business development providing services to investors in property development and other business undertakings. He was involved in developing one of the country’s biggest housing projects in Avondale, Lusaka.
He became a political activist and a trade unionist during Zambia’s struggle for independence on the Copperbelt Province.
This period marked the beginning of Sata’s career in Zambian politics which was during his youth. At 73 as founder and president of the Patriotic Front Sata continues to be the living symbol of the organization. He is a visionary and skilled political party organizer and strategist. Currently no other political leader in Zambia can beat his grassroots support and pull large crowds more than he does at rallies or just during casual visitations to different parts of the country.
Sata’s political career spans over a period of 30 years having served first as a councilor and later executive Governor in the Lusaka City Council from 1981 to 1988. His helm at Lusaka City Council provided leadership which spurred innovative developments including landmark infrastructure and social services.
He was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Decentralization (Local Government) in the then UNIP one-party state administration until the re-introduction of plural politics in Zambia in 1991 when he resigned the position to join the opposition MMD. Sata is one of the longest politicians to serve as Member of Parliament for 20 years and also as cabinet minister in charge of Local Government, Labour and Social Security, Health and Minister Without Portfolio in the MMD government. The great oratory skills, fearless, bold and hardworking leadership traits which he demonstrated at Lusaka City Council, Local Government and Housing and Health Ministries earned him the reputation of Mr Action Man of Zambian politics.
Sata has seen PF grow from a mere seat in parliament in 2001 to biggest opposition party today.
As founding leader of the PF he brings to the party immense charisma, a wealth of experience in both party politics and public service which is incomparable with his political opponents. His leadership of the PF has profoundly contributed in shaping socio-economic and political discourse in Zambia.
As President of Zambia, his party, PF’s promises of more jobs and better education appear to have won over the electorate.