Michael Chilufya Sata
Zambian opposition politician and candidate for president for the Patriotic Front party in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
Working primarily in:
This is Michael Sata's description of himself from his website:
Michael Chilufya Sata
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: //
Place of Origin: Zambia
"Michael Sata, known to every man, woman and child in Zambia as "King Cobra", has had a long and distinguished political career.
'Starting as an ordinary member of UNIP in the late 1970s, he made his way up the One Party State ladder via Ward Chairman, Member of Parliament and District Governor for Lusaka, to Minister of State responsible for local government. In 1990 he fell out with Kenneth Kaunda and was one of the first MPs to openly sympathise with the MMD when it was founded. In 1991 he was elected MMD Chairman for Local Government and, following the party's electoral landslide, became the first MMD Cabinet Minister of the same portfolio. He masterminded the legislation that returned district and town councils to multiparty democratic governance in 1992. In 1993 he was moved to Labour and Social Services, and in 1994 became Minister of Health.
'In 1995 Michael Sata became MMD National Secretary, and in 1996 he was appointed Minister without Portfolio, often seen as the Number Three position in the country's political hierarchy. He held these positions until 2001, when he differed with President Chiluba's method of selecting a successor (and with the successor Levy Mwanawasa himself).
'He formed PF in 2001, 54 days before general elections, and stood as its presidential candidate. Given the short lead time and the general state of confusion with six MMD "spin-off" parties in contention, the PF came only fifth in the race in a field of 11. However, Sata and PF have continued to campaign and criticise the "New Deal" of Levy Mwanawasa relentlessly, and the results of an election today would see PF very much in contention.
'Michael Sata's reputation rests predominantly upon two things. His natural charisma makes him a political leader capable of inspiring a diversity of people to follow him. At PF rallies the unemployed and the illiterate join hands with doctors, lawyers, teachers, civil servants and rich entrepreneurs to shout their support for his leadership. Secondly, he has a reputation for getting things done and making systems work. He acquired his nickname when he growled at slacking middle management during his "cleanup" of Lusaka when he was District Governor. "The best Minister of Health that we ever had" is a common sobriquet from those who served under him in Local Government, Labour or Health. His growling no-nonsense style upsets some people who would prefer a quiet and unenergetic life, but there is a growing consensus that Zambia, a country almost at the bottom of the international human development league table, needs more of his no-nonsense approach.
'He is married.'