Zambian Vice President Guy Scott must be reminded that the PF has no right to act above the law and ignore court orders, says international lawyer Robert Amsterdam, as these repeated violations of the constitution de-legitimise the state.
According to a recent interview in the Post Newspaper, Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott justified the government’s decision to illegally revoke the passport belonging to former President Rupiah Banda saying that they would be “embarrassed” over flight risk.
“Guy Scott doesn’t need any help in embarrassing Zambia – he’s doing a great job on his own by insulting diplomatic partners and garnering a reputation as one of Africa’s most incompetent governments,” says Amsterdam, who acts as international counsel to former President Banda.
“Dr. Scott’s comments are deeply ignorant on a number of levels. Firstly, no matter how the PF government ‘feels,’ it has no right to ignore court orders, and when it does, it is acting as a criminal state. Secondly, the idea that the distinguished former President Banda would ever abandon his children, family, and nation that he loves is ridiculous – it would never happen, and that is why the Lusaka High Court granted the release of his passport on multiple occasions. And thirdly, he has never been found guilty of any crime, and is fully entitled to the presumption of innocence before these trumped up charges.”
The Vice President also cited the fact that the former President’s son, Henry Banda, lives in South Africa, however he failed to mention that Interpol rejected Zambia’s request and cancelled the Red Notice based on a lack of evidence and a failure to comply with protocol.
According to letters from Interpol, over a period of 16 months and despite repeated opportunities, the Zambian government refused to supply any details of charges and failed to make a legal case for extradition before the South African authorities. Following an investigation, the organisation determined that Zambia’s conduct “raised strong doubts concerning compliance with Interpol’s rules.”
“How can Guy Scott complain about Henry Banda when he can’t even decide what to accuse him of? Henry has cooperated and corresponded with the government since February 6, 2012, informing them of his location and willingness to answer any questions, so why does Guy Scott continue to lie about the most basic facts?” asks Amsterdam.
By acting illegally in their treatment of the Banda family, Guy Scott and other PF members are confirming the political motivations and non-existent evidence behind their accusations, Amsterdam says. The PF is determined to go after Rupiah Banda as he represents a formidable political threat in a moment of sharply rising unpopularity and public rejection of the government.
“Keep in mind that the persecution of former President Banda is being driven by a prosecutor, Mutembo Nchito, who swore before parliament that he would recuse himself from any conflicts of interest such as cases involving the former president,” said Amsterdam. “When the Law Association of Zambia summoned Nchito on disciplinary charges, he refused to attend, just like when Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba refused to attend his summoning before the Anti-Corruption Commission. Kabimba has also refused to clarify his shareholding in a company that has benefitted from government contracts. The whole world can plainly see that this is a party that acts with impunity.”
“I would like to express my gratitude to Guy Scott for proving the fraudulent nature of the state’s case against former President Banda. The day will come when the PF will be made accountable for their illegal behaviour, so my advice to Dr Scott would be to take the law to heart, and perform his duties of office according to the constitution.”