Former president Rupiah Banda must be left to pursue his court cases without any form of prejudice from any quarter and those who hate him should wait until his cases are finished before dragging his name in malicious political debates, former ambassador to Japan Joe Mwale has said.
Ambassador Mwale has appealed to the Lusaka Magistrate Court to take action against the Post Newspaper and its proprietor Fred M’membe for their continued attacks against president Banda in their editorials even after he had sued them for contempt.
Ambassador Mwale said it was disappointing that debate about president Banda’s return to active politics was being promoted by a particular section of the media which has over the years been disparaging the former head of state.
He told the Daily Nation that president Banda has never said anything about calls for his return to active politics and that it was surprising that the Post had started attacking and maligning him (Banda) over a matter he had never commented.
Ambassador Mwale said president Banda had sued the Post Newspaper with its owner Fred M’membe for contempt of court and that it was worrying that the newspaper with its proprietor could start a malicious debate with the sole purpose of getting at him.
He said the Post had continued maligning president Banda in total disregard of the court process and that it would only be fair for the court to look at the abuse of the judicial process by the newspaper with its owner. He stated that the question of whether president Banda was guilty or innocent should be left to the courts but that the Post had continued judging the former president through its editorials.
He said it was hatred of the worst kind for the Post and its proprietor to embark on a malicious crusade of discussing the imaginary coming back to active politics so that they could find a reason to disparage him.
Ambassador Mwale said it was not true that president Banda was in financial crisis before he was picked by president Levy Mwanawasa to be his Vice-President.
He said president Banda was identified by late Levy Mwanawasa from Chipata because he realised that he (Banda) could add value to the MMD which at a time was facing a lot of hostilities because of the persecution of second republican president Frederick Chiluba.
Ambassador Mwale said the popularity of the MMD had waned during the time president Chiluba was being persecuted and that the people of Luapula were angry that Dr Chiluba had become a victim of persecution after ruling the country for ten years.
“People from Luapula protested over the persecution of Dr Chiluba and the popularity of the MMD waned. President Banda worked hard to reconcile the country and that was why in 2008, he was able to win the presidential election. President Banda had support from across the country and so those against President Banda must wait until his court cases are over before declaring him guilty,” ambassador Mwale said.