STATEMENT BY HON. KENNEDY SAKENI, MP, MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON ON FORMER PRESIDENT RUPIAH BANDA’S ACCUSATIONS ON THE REMOVAL OF HIS IMMUNITY
Government wishes to state categorically that there will be no bad precedence set in removing former President Rupiah Banda’s immunity, contrary to his assertions in Kenya today, as reported in the media.
The MMD, the party that Mr Banda belongs to, lifted, through Parliament, the immunity of former President Dr Frederick Chiluba (MHSRIP), who was their own member, to enable him clear his name on the allegations of plunder of the national resources levelled against him.
This was the MMD then in power lifting the immunity of the man they themselves sponsored to lead the nation.
Late President Levy Mwanawasa, in moving the motion to strip his predecessor of his immunity, stated that the action was good in order to set a good precedence both for himself and other leaders after him that whoever is entrusted with the privilege of presiding over public resources as Head of State, does not abuse that privilege and use the resources for personal or family benefit.
Zambians have not forgotten that in fact, it was former President Rupiah Banda’s Government that set a bad precedence by letting Dr Chiluba off the hook.
We recall how Mr Rupiah Banda talked about the late Dr Chiluba’s judgement at a rally in Kabwe even before it was delivered in court.
Clearly, Mr Banda was trying to protect the late former President Chiluba so as to protect himself in return because he realized that he had already soiled his hands as soon as he had entered State House.
If Mr Rupiah Banda has nothing to hide, why should he avoid to clear his name through the due process of the law?
This Government is not acting outside the Constitution by proposing to remove the immunity of former President Rupiah Banda just as the MMD did not act outside the law to remove the late former President Chiluba’s immunity.
It should be stressed that immunity is not a birthright. It is a privilege which can be removed as, and when deemed necessary, in accordance with the law.
Hon. Kennedy Sakeni, MP
MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON
4th March, 2013