News / Africa

    Zambian Ex-Leader Seeks Clarification After Summons

    Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, is seen in a  March 8, 2011, file photo.Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, is seen in a March 8, 2011, file photo.
    x
    Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, is seen in a  March 8, 2011, file photo.
    Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, is seen in a March 8, 2011, file photo.
    Peter Clottey
    An attorney says Zambia’s former president Rupiah Banda is seeking clarification from the government before deciding whether to appear before anti-graft investigators Monday.

    Attorney Sakwiba Sikota says Zambia President Michael Sata's government is being vindictive by persecuting the former leader as part of an effort to weaken opposition parties by harassing and intimidating their leaders.

    The government rejects Sikota’s claims, saying the Banda summons is part of a crusading effort to root out graft in Zambia.                                                       
     
    Sikota says there is a contradiction between the summons letter from the country's anti-graft body and a statement to Zambia's parliament by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba.

    Sikota says, “In their letter they said they want to invite (Banda) for interviews, in other words for purposes of investigation.  This seems to be quite different and in contradiction with what the minister of justice said in the house."  But the lawyer says the justice minister said, "... they had finished their investigation and that there were no further investigations to be done.”

    The attorney says he needs to know why his client is being summoned.

    “Once we’ve got that clarification that is when we will be able to make that call [for Banda],” continued Sikota, “if it is for purposes of arrest then they should let us know.  If it is for purposes of investigation then they are contradicting the minister of justice.”

    Parliament last week lifted Banda’s immunity from criminal prosecution after the government urged the legislature to do so, claiming it will enable officials to investigate cases of corruption during the former president’s rule.  The removal of the immunity allows the government to prosecute Mr. Banda for financial malfeasance he is alleged to have committed from 2008 to 2011.

    Supporters of the government say if the former president has nothing to hide, he should allow the investigation to continue, since he would have nothing to fear.

    But Sikota says by arguing there are corruption cases to be investigated, the government is implying Mr. Banda is guilty and he has to now prove his innocence. 

    “In a system where there isn’t any vindictiveness, where people are not driven by hate that argument possibly could be made.  But where you have a situation where there is already prejudgment made ... it is clear that what you have is a persecution and not a prosecution,” said Sikota.

    “If you are professing that you are a government driven by the rule of law, good governance and fighting corruption, you will not corrupt the law by going against it.  Our argument is that the process, which was used was tainted,” said Sikota.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Banda says he has been deeply touched by the support he has been receiving.          

    “I watched the immunity debate on television in the company of my family and young colleagues. I could not help but admire and pricelessly appreciate the manner in which the opposition members of parliament debated. I also received numerous phone calls of solidarity. I can give back nothing but my gratitude for the gesture,” said Banda.

    The former president has appealed to Zambians to remain calm after his immunity was lifted.
    Clottey interview with Attorney Sakwiba Sikota
    Clottey interview with Attorney Sakwiba Sikotai
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.