The Lusaka High Court yesterday ruled that former President Rupiah Banda is not a flight risk as suggested by PF government and that he is free to travel to South Africa for the Boston University African Leaders Round table conference.
And Mr Banda’s defence lawyers revealed that they would not hesitate to cite the prosecution for contempt if they blocked Mr Banda from traveling today.
Judge In Charge Jane Kabuka ordered that Mr Banda should be given his passport to enable him travel to South Africa. She was also confident that the former head of state would not run away.
This was after Mr Banda had applied to the court for the variations of bail and bond conditions to enable him travel to Johannesburg for the Boston University African Leaders Round table conference.
But the late submission by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito challenging the variation delayed the ruling which should have been delivered on Monday afternoon.
In her ruling Justice Kabuka further stated that Mr Banda had a family that he could not leave behind including two young children as well as properties.
She ordered that the former head of state should be accompanied by Mr Mikatazo Wakumelo to South Africa and that he (Mr Wakumelo) should be the one to surrender the passport of the former President to government authorities once Mr Banda returns.
She also noted that one of the sureties Mr Wakumelo was a government employee.
Judge Kabuka noted that the roundtable conference was a special event where the presence of Mr Banda was required and that there was no way he could delegate a representative to read the speech on his behalf.
This was after the prosecution team argued that Mr Banda should not be allowed to travel because the event in South Africa was just like any other gathering and anybody could have represented him at the conference.
“We are ready for any surprise and this time around we are going to cite the government for contempt if they try to stop Mr Banda from travelling,” said the defence lawyers.
And deputy administrative assistant Kennedy Limwanya confirmed that Mr Banda leaves for Johannesburg this morning on the 07:15 hours on South African Airways flight.
Mr Limwanya said the former President’s slot at the Roundtable had been moved to today and he would among other things moderate in session-two under the subject “Making Government Work”, whose discussant will be former Mauritius President, His Excellency Karl Auguste Offmann.
Mr Limywanya said Mr Banda would also be in time for session-three to be moderated by former Zanzibar President, His Excellency Amani Abeid Karume under the title “Democracy: The Social Contract”.
Apart from Mr Wakumelo the former head of state would also be accompanied by his economic advisor Richard Chembe.
Other notable personalities attending the African Presidential Roundtable are former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, former Tanzanian president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga and Martin Luther King Jnr, a professor of ethical leadership at Boston University.