Those advocating for the lifting of immunity of the fourth republican President Rupiah Banda must approach the issue with reason and love for the nation and not personal vendettas, says the Zambian Voice.
Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali noted that justice and rule of law for the immunity to be lifted must go with the clear evidence or prima facie cases to justify the act.
He explained that it was right for Mr Banda to have refused to be questioned or answer anything to the ACC because he was not obliged.
“In the case of RB we think it was not in the interest of Justice to have refused to appear before the Anti Corruption Commission to be questioned, citing this article, because it is only after such investigations that evidence or a prema facie case(s) can be established. We however note that RB has the right to refuse to be questioned or answer anything to ACC or any other Law enforcers, he is not obliged.”
Mr Tayali said it was logical to speculate that those people calling for the removal of immunity had ill-intent to benefit themselves or settle scores, on the basis that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) or any other Law enforcing agency had not currently laid any case against the former President.
“We therefore wonder on what basis people are asking to have the immunity of Mr Banda lifted when currently ACC or any other Law enforcing agency has not laid any case against him. As an organization that espouses to bring unity and promote democracy we wish to throw some reflections in the light of our Constitution and Natural Law,” he said.
However, Mr Tayali has called upon Zambians not to be dragged into schemes and personal crusades to embarrass the former Head of State without just cause.
And Mr Tayali accused the investigative wing of exhibiting unprofessionalism and double standing in the operation of the ACC, especially in the case of Mr Banda.
He claimed it was unprofessional for ACC to provide or leak the letter of Mr Banda to the media because ACC could have conducted its investigations in confidence.
“It is also a double stand because on 28th January we wrote to ACC to update us on the corruption case involving Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and Defense Minister Geoffrey Mwamba, we got a response that they would not devour such information to the public because its confidential. This tendency is very common with ACC and we are concerned. If the case has something to do with a Government, it is confidential but if it is for an ordinary citizen or opposition, the accused is tried and convicted in the public,” he said.
According to Article 43 (3) of the constitution, protects the current and former Presidents from criminal prosecution unless immunity is lifted by National Assembly and for it to be lifted, there must be overwhelming evidence or prema facie case(s) that such a person would be accused of. Such evidence can only come after thorough investigations which might include questioning the accused person. In other words the article in question does not protect a person from investigations or indeed being questioned.