We will stand with RB, Northwest MMD

PRESS STATEMENT

 

NORTHWESTERN PROVINCE SOLIDARITY TO THE 3rd MMD AND FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT MR. RUPIAH BWEZANI BANDA ON THE LIFTING OF HIS IMMUNITY

On behalf of the people and MMD of Northwestern Province, we as the Provincial Executive Committee of the MMD wish to show our sympathy and solidarity to our 3rd Party President and the 4th Republican President Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda for the political retribution of hate he is facing through the callous attitude of the few people in PF Government. It is a well-known fact that Rupiah Banda has done nothing wrong because there is no single Ministry or any Government wing that has had missing, misapplied or diverted funds reported despite the Auditor General’s office thoroughly re-auditing already audited ministries in order to find a skirmisher between RB and his enemies in the post 2011 general elections’ political retribution.

We are alive to the fact that the lifting of RB’s immunity was done in bad faith as there are no tangible cases to warrant lifting of his immunity. As law abiding Zambians, we are worried about the dignity and integrity of the Speaker Honourable Matibini who we have always held in high esteem all this while but he has allowed himself to be at the centre of controversy by seeming to be partisan. Being a former High Court Judge himself of good standing, we highly anticipated that Hon. Matibini would have had an audience first with the judiciary to request them in earnest to adjudicate the injunction order of RB’s immunity expeditiously before the bill was brought to Parliament so that there could be no conflict between the Courts of Law and the National Assembly or hold the bill in wait for the judiciary to pass its verdict. We believe that the Speaker has got that jurisdiction in retrospect with impending cases in Courts of Law versus decisions by Parliament. We can refer to the case of Hon Namugala and Hon Siamunene and others who have been expelled by their respective Parties but the Speaker has not declared them vacant owing to an impending Court ruling, but why allow a bill be presented to Parliament when there is an injunction against it but involving RB and allow Namugala, Siamunene and others continue to be MPs. It is a very strange and bad precedence that has been created for the first time in Zambia for the Legislators (MPs), being guided by a former High Court Judge (Speaker), in an honourable Assembly of Zambia to override on matters before the Courts of Law.

However, going forward, we wish to state our position as MMD that corruption, money laundering and anything inimical of the integrity and dignity of the office of the President deserves punitive repercussions but through exhaustive normal procedure with clear cut evidence of Government’s loss of money (like it was the case with the matrix exposed by Mwanawasa as proof on Chiluba where money from Zamtrop accounts, Government departments and quasi agencies like Zanaco and Bank of Zambia was highlighted on how it was being channeled to personal attributes of Chiluba) and not in the manner the PF has mishandled the case of RB where lollipops, bulbs etc. and all campaign materials should be a case but without proof of payment from any Government coffers. We do not as MMD, condone corruption and money laundering but we know RB is just being harassed to embarrass him. We are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that RB is being persecuted on the basis of hate, petty jealousness and political retribution ignited by his growing worldwide recognition as one of the good examples of true leaders of good governance and democracy in Africa.

It is rather very confusing to note that no single Minister, Permanent Secretary, Director, recipient nor payee have been arrested nor mentioned in the perceived atrocities allegedly committed by the former President yet it is common knowledge that no President can in whatever circumstances sign on any payment voucher or cheque. Our argument is motivated by the fact that the Minister in charge of all Government treasury did not vote for the ill motivated lifting of the immunity of President Banda. Hon Alexander Chikwanda instead would have been in pole position to advance the PF appetite for lifting of RB’s immunity and ensure it became a reality because he was privy to all transactions done in MMD under RB and beyond that would surmount to claims of Hon Wynter Kabimba to qualify his motive but alas. It is clear evidence that there was no diversion of funds from government coffers at any point by the gesture taken by Hon Chikwanda, Hon GBM and Hon Inonge Wina by not voting for the lifting of RB’s immunity.

We may not wish to dwell on the layman’s idea of a simple majority vis-a-vis two thirds of the 158 MPs rule in Parliament for the lifting of the immunity but rather re-affirm our solidarity with RB. It is common knowledge that any Republican President in any country always attracts friends that sponsor them in time of elections so long they do not dip their hands in government coffers which is the case with RB. It is a very sad reading to note that the former President could be related to perceived atrocities committed by his grown up and independent son Henry Banda who is on his own an established businessman. There is no trace of Government officers charged with responsibilities of Government commitment charged with any offence to warrant RB’s connection. All we hear are mere speculations as a result of impulse reaction from a few individuals who are misleading President Sata. By law, every political party in Zambia is protected from disclosure of its financiers and we do not need to go to a Law School for us to claim that RB stole money for campaign materials if we cannot prove it. Let the state now prove its allegations against RB.

We are equally very disappointed with MPs who could stoop so low to vote for lifting of RB’s immunity without considerable reasoning but excitement bent on personal hatred at the expense of the development of the Country.  They say “Parliament is not sacred that even unwise or unreasonable people can ascend there”, but we expect level headedness from all MPs whether wise or unwise when deliberating on issues that affect the nation because anything they bind in Parliament has adverse impact on the welfare of Zambia as a country.

As MMD in Northwestern, we wish to call for the removal of the immunity clause in the Constitution. Let the office of the President only enjoy immunity when serving but cease immediately one leaves office. Moreover, it does not make any sense at all where you can only remove the immunity but not restore it once allegations prove otherwise. Besides that, it has become a norm in Zambia that whoever has served as Republican President is assumed to have been involved in corrupt activities so what is the need to have it in the Constitution? We believe it initially was premised to safeguard the integrity, dignity and sovereignty of mother Zambia and not the individual who occupied the highest office in the land

We urge PF Government to observe the Rule of Law and not the Law of Rule as it appears to be the trend now. Let them also remember that posterity takes no sides and everything has got time. We also urge the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to state its position. However we thank LAZ for  being magnanimous enough to call a spade a spade lately.

I thank you,

BENJAMIN MUFUNGA

Provincial Information and Publicity Secretary

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