Following media reports on the Zambian government’s failure to lay charges in support of requests for the arrest of Henry Banda, son of former Zambian President Rupiah Banda, their legal counsel have dismissed the arrest requests as unfounded and politically motivated.
“These unspecified allegations against Henry Banda are politically driven and without foundation. It is clearly not a genuine investigation,” said Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff LLP, who represents both Rupiah and Henry Banda. “The bogus accusations levelled against Henry, which change from day to day, form part of a wider campaign to persecute the former president, his party and the political opposition at large.”
The Government of Zambia is using the false pretext of “anti-corruption” to eliminate political competition, said Amsterdam. Two weeks ago the ruling Patriotic Front party, through the Chief Registrar of Societies, attempted to force the de-registration of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and vacate 53 parliamentary seats. On Monday, April 2, the Zambian police arrested and jailed without bail opposition spokesperson Dora Siliya, who served as Communications Minister under former President Rupiah Banda.
“As we have seen from the attempts to dissolve the MMD and the repeated arrests of opposition party leadership, there are elements within the highest levels of the governing Patriotic Front party which seek to return Zambia to a one-party state,” Amsterdam said. “In the absence of any real evidence against Henry Banda, we can see that the government is making arrests and attempting to pressure individuals to produce false evidence.”
Amsterdam continued: “This charade is an embarrassment to Zambia’s legal system and should not be tolerated by the public. Most Zambians can see right through these fabricated charges and trials-by-headline which are politically driven and in no way rooted in fact. Make no mistake: democracy and the rule of law are under attack in Zambia today.”
Amsterdam & Peroff LLP along with law firm Brian Kahn Inc of Johannesburg, South Africa were appointed to represent Former President Rupiah Banda and his son Henry Banda on March 22, 2012. The legal team is currently preparing emergency appeals to international bodies to halt the unlawful conduct of the Government of Zambia.