Calls mount for ex president Banda’s immunity to be lifted

Filed under: Zambia |

COMMERCE, Trade and Industry, Minister Robert Sichinga has added his voice to calls to have former Republican president Rupiah Banda’s immunity lifted.

The minister said that once the immunity is lifted, it would avail the former head of State an opportunity to clear himself against corruption allegations levelled against him.

Mr Sichinga also reiterated that President Michael Sata had taken a strong stance against corruption for which no one would be spared if found wanting.

Featuring on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let the People Talk’ programme in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Sichinga said he saw nothing wrong with stripping Mr Banda of his immunity as that would enable him clear his name.

He said there was nothing wrong with extending that measure even to other former presidents.

Mr Sichinga said Second Republican president, Frederick Chiluba, had his immunity lifted in 2002 and was subjected to trial in court, but was acquitted.

He said there was no need to worry if those that were to be investigated for various corruption allegations had nothing to hide.

He reiterated that Mr Sata had taken a strong stance against corruption and that those found wanting would be visited by relevant law enforcement agencies.

He said Cabinet had also embraced the zero-tolerance stance against graft.

Mr Sichinga charged that people should not take former vice-president George Kunda’s outbursts seriously who defended Mr Banda on the same programme last week.

He said Mr Kunda’s utterances had exposed his inconsistency over the issue.

Mr Kunda featured on the same programme last week and charged that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had embarked on a witch-hunt and selective prosecutions.

On Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) leader, Charles Milupi’s questioning of the publication of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 at the expense of telling the nation when the Government would restore it, Mr Sichinga said he was shocked that the opposition leader could state that.

He said Mr Milupi should have been one of the first people to embrace the move as a “wonderful” thing to do.

Mr Sichinga said the essence of publicising the document was to enable the citizenry become aware of its contents so that they could make informed decisions as they debated the matter.

He wondered how the Barotseland issue would be resolved if people were not knowledgeable about its contents.

On former Finance minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane’s concerns that the reversal of the Zamtel sale would reduce investor confidence, Mr Sichinga said the move was “not an afterthought by the PF” as it had made it clear even before assuming power that it was going to repossess the parastatal company.

Mr Sichinga said what investors detested was corruption and preferred to invest in countries that were stable and had predictable economies.

He said the directive to have the findings of the Zamtel sale published deserved commendation, as it was one way of promoting transparency.

Times of Zambia

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