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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid