News / Africa

    Zambian Ex-Leader Seeks Clarification After Summons

    Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, (File photo).
    Zambia's former president, Rupiah Banda, (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 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 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.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora