By Nation Reporter
FORMER president Rupiah Banda has discontinued the prosecution of Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba and Fred M’membe, the owner of The Post Newspaper in a case the former Head of State had sued the duo for criminal libel.
Former president Banda said his decision to stop the criminal prosecution of Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba was prompted by the restoration of his immunity from prosecution following his acquittal of all the corruption charges he was facing.
Mr Banda said he had freely made his decision to forgive Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba principally because he had been acquitted on all the criminal charges he was facing before the magistrate courts.
Former president Banda has since instructed his lawyers Makebi Zulu, Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri to immediately start the process of discontinuing the criminal prosecution of Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba.
He said in a statement yesterday that while he was facing serious and trumped-up charges of corruption, Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba contemptuously chose to comment on the cases which were before the courts which was sub-judice.
Mr Banda said Mr M’membe and Kabimba’s comments which were published in The Post Newspaper had the undesired effect of prejudicing his defence while criminal proceedings were going on.
“I have issued instructions to my lawyers Keith Mweemba of Mweemba advocates, Messrs PNP Advocates and Makebi Zulu Advocates to forthwith set in motion the process of discontinuing the criminal prosecution of Wynter Kabimba, the president of the Rainbow Party, Fred M’membe , the editor in-chief of The Post Newspaper and the Post Newspaper Limited. I wish to state that I have freely come to the decision principally because I was acquitted of all the criminal charges I was facing before the subordinate courts in Lusaka. My decision has been prompted by the restoration of the immunity I enjoy as a former President,” Mr Banda said.
Former president Banda said he had no option but to take legal action against Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba to preserve his name and ensure that his defence and constitutional rights to fair trial were not undermined and prejudiced.
He said he was hopeful that the legal team representing Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba and the one representing him (Banda) would be able to conclude the matter according to his desire.
“As the nation heads to the 11th August, 2016 general elections, I once again wish to call upon all fellow Zambians to ensure that we preserve peace and unity of our land during the elections and after. This country needs peace and love to move on to development and prosperity,” president Banda said.