Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By George Chellah
Wed 02 June 2010, 04:01 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata yesterday said the conviction of Katele Kalumba and three others for corruption has shocked Frederick Chiluba. And Transparency International – Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu said the conviction of Kalumba has sent Chiluba into a state of confusion.
Commenting on former president Chiluba’s statement that all the corruption allegations against him and his former officials were a political witch-hunt in which the courts were just used to achieve this political goal by his enemies, Sata said Chiluba should be the last person to criticize the courts.
“We all know that currently Chiluba is co-president of Zambia. So he stands a better chance of easily influencing these decisions and not we in the opposition. What authority have we got to coerce the courts? He is now Rupiah’s friend, he told us himself that he is the one who guides Rupiah on what button to press,” Sata said.
“Chiluba is not being sincere on this matter. It’s clear to see here that Rupiah is struggling, he is trying to be a man of himself and not to be a poodle on a small string.
“The truth of the matter is that Chiluba didn’t expect what came out of the court on Katele and others. It was a shock to him, the conviction hit him so hard.”
He said Chiluba was speaking with a forked tongue.
“Chiluba is saying that the fact that these people have appealed meant that they were still contending their innocence. Chiluba is playing double standards here. He should not even claim his innocence because that innocent would have been proved in his own statement. It’s because Zambians were not sure on whether he was innocent of corruption that’s why they demanded for an appeal against his acquittal which he stopped with his friend Rupiah,” Sata said.
“Chiluba was acquitted by the same courts he is today saying were just used to achieve a political goal by his enemies. If he knew that he was innocent why didn’t they let the appeal process to go ahead? To show Chiluba that they are law-abiding citizens who respect the country’s judicial system, Zambians have not stopped Katele from appealing because after what Rupiah did on Chiluba’s acquittal by blocking the appeal one would have expected Zambians to equally stop Katele and team from appealing but they haven’t.
“So if Chiluba is so sure about his innocence let him and Rupiah permit that appeal against his acquittal just like the Zambian people have permitted Katele and others to appeal against their conviction. Chiluba is trying to play double standards.”
Sata said it was difficult for Chiluba to keep quiet on these matters.
“We need more talking from Chiluba. The guilty are always afraid so it would be impossible for him to keep quiet,” he said.
He dismissed Chiluba’s assertion that the focus on the fight against corruption was on him.
“He is talking about Kenneth Kaunda’s 27-year rule and Levy’s rule before his death. But you ask him; Chiluba was president of Zambia for 10 years. He was in a much better position than anybody else to tell the people of Zambia about the corruption of UNIP and take action against that so why didn’t he take action against Kenneth Kaunda? Who stopped him?” Sata asked.
“He is also talking about corruption in Levy’s government but he forgets that Rupiah’s government is a continuation of where Levy left, so what is he saying about his friend Rupiah?
He should accuse his friend Rupiah of running a corrupt government. Let him not even talk about Kenneth Kaunda and Mwanawasa because we can point a finger on what these two gentlemen did while in office.
“Kaunda in his 27-year rule took development to Luapula Province where Chiluba hails. Even Mwanawasa despite him not finishing his second term, he managed to erect Mwanawasa Bridge in Luapula but what did Chiluba, the son of the soil do for Luapula? Where can we see Chiluba’s development in Luapula? Instead of doing anything for Luapula he superintended on the destruction of that province, he was just busy closing the few companies that existed in order for the locals to suffer.”
Sata said the courts were supposed to be independent.
“Politicians are casual workers. They come and go but the country’s justice system remains. So the courts must be independent because people need to have confidence in the courts,” Sata said.
And Lungu said TIZ finds the comments by Chiluba that the corruption allegations against him and his former officials were a political witch-hunt interesting.
“This is because Dr Chiluba has now agreed that the conviction of Dr Kalumba and others reflects on what was supposed to have happened in his own case as the facts leading to the cases arise from interrelated activities and events. It is surprising that Dr Chiluba can attack the judiciary in such a manner which just a few months ago, he was congratulating for delivering what he called ‘justice’ after his acquittal,” Lungu said.
“Dr Chiluba is also on record to have called the current Republican President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda to be his very good friend and as such, one wonders who is at the pinnacle of the Judiciary which is engaged in witch-hunting Dr Chiluba and others if not his good friend. It is also interesting to note that Dr Chiluba is apparently happy that Dr Kalumba and others have appealed to contend their innocence when he did not encourage the state to appeal against his acquittal for him to be cleared by the higher courts of our judicature.
“To us, the conviction of Dr Kalumba and others is clear testimony that there was no justice done in the Chiluba acquittal as his case cannot at all be delinked from the one involving Dr Kalumba and others. We shall therefore continue demanding that the appeal against Dr Chiluba's judgment be done by the state without fail no matter what.”
He said the conviction of Kalumba had sent Chiluba into the state of confusion.
“And contradiction in that he has now started castigating the judiciary which implies he is indirectly attacking the Republican President, Mr Rupiah Banda,” he said.
Lungu advised President Banda to learn from Chiluba’s contradictory behaviour, which he said could ruin his chances of re-election next year.
“This is for the simple reason that the controversial acquittal of Dr Chiluba will become one of the hotly contested election issues next year,” said Lungu.