Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rupiah explains his defence of Chiluba

Rupiah explains his defence of Chiluba
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:34:02 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda yesterday said he has no quarrels with former president Frederick Chiluba and will not inherit other people's enmity with him.

And Vice-President George Kunda said the matter where Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba intends to commence judicial review proceedings to have the decision to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal reviewed by the High Court would be competently handled by the Attorney General.

Responding to a question from The Post over assertions that he was in the forefront defending Chiluba when he spoke to journalists at the Lusaka International Airport before departure for Swaziland yesterday, President Banda said he had no quarrels with Chiluba.

"I don't know why people want me to inherit their enemies. If they have quarrels with the former president, that is their business. I am just President for everybody, including yourself, including themselves. If they get into trouble tomorrow, they would expect me to be neutral and let the necessary systems take care of the thing. So I have no quarrel with president Chiluba whatsoever," President Banda said. "[I have] no quarrel with Dr Kaunda. He brought me up, and I really feel that as the fourth President, it is my duty to recognise what my colleagues before me had done and to give them all the respect. But you as citizens, it is up to you to choose who you want to relate with or not."

Asked on Chiluba's statement that he would ask for his money back, President Banda responded: "He wants what?"

The journalist who had asked the question from Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) repeated, "[He wants] his money back."

President Banda then responded with a question: "... So you agree that it is his money? Your question says [he wants his money]. You are saying it also, 'he wants his money back'. Well again, those are matters which will be sorted out. The President, I know all of you think everything it is the President. I'm just a President. Then you've got a minister of justice, you have got a minister of agriculture, a minister of this and that. You have got judges. There are institutions in this country of ours which handle these matters. Otherwise, we would be in chaos if we did it the way other people want us to do it. So if the court said something, I think that we should listen, and if we don't agree, we take the necessary measures to redress their disagreements."

President Banda maintained that the government was fighting corruption, saying just over two days ago, government launched the anti-corruption policy.

Asked by The Post over Kabimba's move to seek judicial review over the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal, Vice-President Kunda responded on behalf of the President.

"Those are matters which are handled by the Attorney General. That matter will be competently handled by the Attorney General. When it is properly filed in court, if there will be any judicial review, it will be handled by the Attorney General," said Vice-President Kunda. "We have a formidable team of lawyers to act on such matters."

Earlier, before President Banda spoke to journalists, information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha and chief of protocol Bob Samakai were busy asking journalists to move back slightly from where the President stood.

President Banda will be in Swaziland on a two-day state visit before proceeding to Libya to attend an African Union (AU) meeting.

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