As Young Leaders Alliance (YOLA), we find the engagement of Rupiah Banda with the Carter Centre difficult to comprehend owing to what the Center stands for.
We are fully perturbed by the reported invitation of Dr. Rupiah Banda by the Carter Foundation to go and offer lectures in the United States of America supposedly on democratic governance on the African continent and Zambia in particular. Our remonstration with this engagement is primarily premised on the fact that we find the Center to be acting in grave inconsistence with their guiding and fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; the center is additionally driven by the desire to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy among other tenets of democratic governance. And we honestly don’t think Dr. Banda stood for these.
from the foregoing, it may be deciphered that our major contention with the Carter-Banda working relationship is at variance with what the same Carter center stands and this is mainly because we are of the considered view that Banda did not fully live up to the tenets of democratic governance during the time that he was president of our republic. Granted the grave governance evils that Dr. Banda committed during his presidency, we find it extremely unbearable that the Carter Center will undertake to parade a gentleman who presided over a political party that unleashed its cadres to inflict physical pain on those who were of the contrary view during the last elections.
This Carter Center hypocrisy on Rupiah reached its peak in November, 2011 when Rupiah Banda co-led a 90 member delegation to observe the polling and counting processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Premised on how Rupiah Banda and his political party conducted themselves during our last election, it may be safely gathered that the Carter Center engaged an observer who was deficient of moral authority to over-see free and fair elections or an electoral process that resonates with tenets of democracy. Before we confer disproportionate accolades on people that abused our country to a greater extent, it is important that we fully address ourselves to the governance blunders that they made when they thought they would stay in power forever.
Under Rupiah Banda, his name sake William Tekere Banda was granted a free destructive role to cause havoc and arbitrarily attack those that were actual and perceived opponents of the MMD and Zambians can fully remember that these people did it without any form of remorse; with this in mind, we wonder how this would go with the good democratic governance that the Carter Center stands for. Key State institutions such as the police service were reduced in mandate under Dr. Banda’s reign with William Tekere Banda committing political atrocities in full view of the men in uniform. Some of our people may remember that in Chongwe constituency some women from opposition political parties had to start concealing the party chitenge materials because of the electoral violence presided over by Dr. Banda government.
Under Dr. Rupiah Banda’s leadership, acting in pure contravention of the democratic tenet that requires leaders not to abuse their authority, the abuse of office clause was dropped from the ACC Act so as to enable public officers to loot public resources. Now as an association, we wonder how this may be reconciled with the good democratic governance that the Carter Center stands for. With this background, it has emerged difficult to understand how the Carter Center reconciles what it stands for with its engagement with discredited former leaders like Rupiah Banda.
Since the Center also stands for the protection of human rights, it would be interesting to know what they make of the January 14 killings in Mongu presided over by Banda’s government against un-armed citizens who were just exercising their freedom of expression. Without remorse again, Banda’s government set their police on the loose and innocent blood was shed in Mongu. Is this what the Carter center stands for? They should cease to be blinded by Banda’s handover of power because he did not do Zambians a favor but was overwhelmingly rejected even with all the state machinery at his disposal. We have found the excessive accolades conferred on RB very disheartening because the wounds caused are still fresh.
What about the blatant abuse of the public media during Dr. Banda’s reign? Is this what the ‘credible’ Carter Center stands for? This again is difficult to assimilate. Banda himself, his agents such as Shikapwasha, Chanda Chimba and Siliya led the abuse of public media with Siliya at some point saying there was no problem with public media supporting the party in power because other parties would equally do the same.
With these observations in mind, we have as an association firmly resolved to petition the Carter center on the following premises
(1) We hold that the Centers’ engagement of Rupiah Banda in observing the electoral process in the Congo DR was a blunder as we believe he does not have the moral authority to lead such an exercise. This is largely premised on the fact that under Dr. Banda’s reign, opposition political parties had to agonize under an electoral process that was by and large tilted to advantage the MMD. WE SHALL THEREFORE PETITION THAT ANY DEALINGS WITH DR. BANDA BE BROUGHT TO A HALT.
(2) In it is verified that there is an invitation for Dr. Banda to offer lectures in the US by the Carter Center, our resolve and appeal is that this invitation should be repudiated with immediate effect because the former president did not fully advance democratic governance as elaborately argued above.
BY YOUNG LEADERS ALLIANCE (YOLA)