Saturday, February 4, 2012

Michael Sata

Michael Chilufya Sata (born 1937) is a Zambian politician who has been the fifth President of Zambia since 23 September 2011. He leads the Patriotic Front (PF), a major political party in Zambia. Under President Frederick Chiluba, Sata was a minister during the 1990s as part of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) government; he went into opposition in 2001, forming the PF. As an opposition leader, Sata—popularly known as "King Cobra"—emerged as the leading opposition presidential contender and rival to President Levy Mwanawasa in the 2006 presidential election, but was defeated. Following Mwanawasa's death, Sata ran again and lost to President Rupiah Banda in 2008.

After ten years in opposition, Sata defeated Banda, the incumbent, to win the September 2011 presidential election with a plurality of the vote.

Early years
Michael Chilufya Sata was born and brought up in Mpika, Northern Province. He worked as a police officer, railway man and trade unionist during colonial rule. He spent time in London working on the railway sweeping the platforms. Among other things, he was a porter at Victoria railway station. Sata began actively participating in the politics of Northern Rhodesia in 1963. Following independence, he worked his way up through the rough-and-tumble rank-and-file of the ruling United National Independence Party (UNIP) to the governorship of Lusaka in 1985. As Governor, he made his mark as a man of action with a hands on approach. He cleaned up the streets, patched roadways and built bridges in the city. Afterward he became a Member of Parliament for Kabwata constituency in Lusaka. Though once close with President Kenneth Kaunda, he became disillusioned by Kaunda's dictatorial style and he left the UNIP to join the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) during the campaign for multi-party politics in 1991.

After Frederick Chiluba defeated Kaunda in 1991, Sata became one of Zambia's most instantly recognizable faces. Under the MMD, he served as minister for local government, labor and, briefly, health where, he boasts, his "reforms brought sanity to the health system".

In 1995, he was appointed as minister without portfolio, the party's national organizing secretary during which his political style was described as "increasingly abrasive".

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