Former Republican vice-president Dr Guy Scott says Michael Sata had a rare gift of invoking excitement in people.

And Dr Scott says Sata did not join politics to amass wealth.

Meanwhile, Sata’s eldest son Mulenga says people must emulate his father’s spirit of reconciliation.

Speaking when the duo featured on 5FM’s The Burning Issue programme yesterday, Dr Scott described Sata as the Shakespeare of politics.

“He had a great gift for producing excitement and sensible excitement. People were enchanted by him and he always tried to out-talk you but if he couldn’t, he would accept that and shift to different ground,” Dr Scott said.

“He was almost the Shakespeare of politics. He was always looking for a new way of doing things and Chiluba feared him because he realized that he was coming for the job. Michael managed to stick in there until Chiluba decided to let him down if you want to use that phrase and it led to the PF being born and that long 10-year fight.”

He said Sata was in it for the presidency, from the beginning.

“Right at the beginning [he knew he would be President], these things come together sometimes when you look around. In 1991 when we were doing the convention I said to Michael ‘why don’t you go for the presidency? I can see Chiluba is very popular but you are also very popular, why don’t you contest?’ He said ‘no I won’t make it for two reasons. I have just come out of UNIP, having fought to get in, whereas Fred is much more clean from having refused to join UNIP or take a job from Kaunda and secondly, Chiluba was the head of the trade unions and all the people voting there had a connection with him’. So right from the start, it was about the presidency,” Dr Scott said.

“And from the start we were in the presidential race. It was just rather difficult to find the way but once we knew what we were doing, we started and we got through. I joined the party two weeks after it was formed. We got a [parliamentary] seat and we had never met the guy. We were told that you have a guy who is running to be member of parliament and we said ‘where is he?’ and we put him in parliament yes.”

Former vice president Dr Guy Scott with Mulenga Sata on 5fm ‘Burning Issue’ radio program as they remember the late President Michael Sata on October 26, 2017- Picture by Tenson Mkhala

And Dr Scott said Sata understood that the purpose of politics was to serve people.

“One thing that people sometimes ask me is ‘show us one thing which indicates that we should support Michael Sata, that he is a man of the people’. Look at his house, the house he lived in, in Rhodespark, it is a little bungalow there, completely crowded, hardly any room and that’s all he lived in. and that was still where he was going to live in when he left State House, he wasn’t a man of assembling assets, you see a lot of building going on at the moment, God knows where it is coming from, because the country is not doing that well but there is a lot of stuff going on,” Dr Scott said.

“…I don’t like material things as a purpose of politics. The purpose of politics is to serve the people of your country or your planet and I think people who have been listening to us might just care to think about that. Why is Michael Sata’s house still almost smaller than his mausoleum? He didn’t do it for the material goods.”

He also recalled that second president Fredrick Chiluba had scolded them for dancing after being appointed Cabinet Ministers.

“Michael convinced me to stand in a rural constituency. He told me to take Mpika whilst he would take a constituency in Lusaka and we would regroup. I was skeptical because how would I campaign in local languages but I won 94 per cent of the votes and that was a pretty good score, it has never been as good since. I think Kenneth Kaunda was surprised that he got so badly walloped because people had told him that it was going to be okay. But after that we went to a press conference called by Chiluba and he said Guy Scott agriculture, Michael Sata, local government and we started dancing and he said ‘what are you dancing for? You are ministers! Stop misbehaving’. So we had to sit down,” said Dr Scott.

“And the American embassy was desperate to see us because we were running out of food, we had the famous drought immediately and life got serious. That is the time we had yellow maize and you will have it again if you ever mess up the way UNIP had messed up the production.”

Meanwhile, Mulenga said people should emulate his father’s spirit of reconciliation.

“The spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation which he exhibited in the latter part of his life is very important, we should all be able to live together, celebrate together and mourn together whatever our political affiliations,” Mulenga said.

Mulenga Sata features on the 5fm ‘Burning Issue’ program on October 25, 2017 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala

Mulenga also said his father was a disciplinarian.

“I was the son of a young Michael Sata and what you saw is what you got, it was my way or the high way. Discipline was plentiful and beatings were delivered for the slightest infringements. So we knew that we had to toll the line as best as possible when we were growing up, but this changed as he got older and I think all of us who are parents know that your mode of parenting evolves. Growing up, you’d scamper out of the room saying dad is coming but now, my four year old for example, I can be watching TV and he will grab the remote and change the channel,” said Mulenga.

“He was a tough man, he had no qualms about dressing you down in public whether you are at the airport, in a shop, at your school, he was like this with me and my older cousins will remember this…Michael Sata would tell you how it was no matter who the audience was and I think it carried over to his politics, I think his ministers were aware of this… He was a tough father but I think my younger siblings like Gerald had it easier, I think their relationship was like the one I have with my four year old where it is give and take. They could get haircuts which some of us couldn’t even think of. I wanted to have a wetlook back in the day and it just would never happen.”