Michael Chilufya Sata (born 1937) is a leader of an opposition political party (Patriotic Front) in Zambia. Prior to forming his party, Mr. Sata had being a minister in the Chiluba led Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) government. As a leader of the opposition Patriotic Front (PF), Sata, popularly known as "King Cobra", emerged as the leading opposition presidential contender and rival to the late President Levy Mwanawasa in the 2006 presidential election, but was defeated. Today. Mr. Sata's led Patriotic front still remains the main opposition political party.
Micheal Chilufya Sata was born and brought up in Mpika, Northern Province. He worked as a police officer , railway man and trades unionist before during the colonial rule. Mr. Sata began actively participating in politics of the then, Nothern Rhodesia in 1963. He worked his way up through the rough-and-tumble rank-and-file of the former 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 then 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 the 1991.
After Frederick Chiluba defeated Kaunda in 1991, Sata became one of Zambia's most instantly recognisable faces. Under the MMD, he served as minister for local government, labour and, briefly, health where, he boasts, his "reforms brought sanity to the health system".