Friday, August 06, 2010

Rupiah’s criminal benevolence

Rupiah’s criminal benevolence
By The Post
Fri 06 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

IT requires a little intelligence – if a little is all one has – to realise that the administration of justice in this country is under the control and direction of Rupiah Banda. It is clear that Rupiah does not hesitate to exercise the powers of the Inspector General of Police and those of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Rupiah believes that as commander-in-chief, he has all the powers to order the arrest of any person whom he believes has committed a crime. He also thinks as President of the Republic, he has the powers to order the release from police custody of any person who has been arrested.

And we have seen from his conduct following the questionable acquittal of Frederick Chiluba that Rupiah believes he has powers to order the Director of Public Prosecutions not to appeal any decision he so desires. Rupiah made it very clear to the nation that he had stopped the appeal against the acquittal of Chiluba.

And on Tuesday Rupiah displayed his control and direction of the police to the whole nation by directing to release individuals who were arrested and detained for allegedly blocking the motorcade of his Vice-President, George Kunda. This is the way Rupiah is running the country.

This is the way justice is being administered in our country. If Rupiah wants you to be arrested, he simply orders so and you are put behind bars. If Rupiah wants you released from police custody, he simply directs and you are released. And we can add that if Rupiah wants you to be convicted, this will be so.

And if he wants you acquitted you will accordingly not be found guilty. If it is his desire for a nolle prosequi to be extended to you, that will be done. Everything starts and ends with Rupiah – he is the alpha and the omega in everything. Even government contracts or deals, if Rupiah wants them to be done and given to you, they will be done and given to you. If Rupiah wants you to buy Zamtel, it will be sold to you. Everything that Rupiah wants, it is done, there’s no stopping it.

And the idea of an independent judicial process doesn’t exist in Rupiah’s world. Although Rupiah in political rhetoric talks about the notion that justice should be fairly administered, he doesn’t expect anything in any real sense to be independent from him. The administration of justice seems to be his prerogative, which he carries out directly or indirectly through his appointed officials.

As such, not only is there no separation of powers, but those who administer justice are his agents and can only act in accordance with his will as their principal. And we saw this in the case of Chansa Kabwela. Rupiah called a press conference at State House at which he denounced us, accusing us of circulating pornography and ordered that we be arrested.

And in no time Chansa was arrested and prosecuted for distributing pornography. And this was in a matter in which if everything was left to the professional and independent judgment of the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions, the embarrassing comedy of errors that we saw in that case would have been avoided. It seems no one in our judicial process can dare question or defy the orders of the commander-in-chief.

Rupiah is destroying the administration of justice in this country. The police can no longer be seen as an independent and impartial law enforcement agency because Rupiah openly and publicly commands it to arrest or release whoever he wants. And the Director of Public Prosecutions cannot be seen as an independent and autonomous public officer administering justice since Rupiah directs him on who should be prosecuted or not and which acquittals he should appeal or not appeal.

Clearly, Rupiah is the de facto Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions. And as we know, in every society throughout history those who administer the criminal justice system, especially if they are political animals and not independent officers of justice, hold power with the potential for abuse and tyranny. In the name of the state, they arrest and imprison innocent individuals. No democratic society can tolerate this type of behaviour and such abuses.

Every state must have the power to maintain law and order and punish criminal acts, but the rules and procedures by which the state enforces its laws must not be arbitrary or subject to political manipulation by those in power.

Rupiah’s conduct threatens not only the rule of law in this country but also the consolidation of democracy in our nation. The right to equality before the law, or equal protection of the law, is fundamental to any just and democratic society. Whether political ally of Rupiah or opponent – all are entitled to equal protection before the law.

No one is asking Rupiah to guarantee that life treats everyone equally, and he has no responsibility to do so. But under no circumstances should Rupiah impose addition inequalities; he should allow those who administer justice in our country to deal evenly and equally with all our people. No one is above the law. And when the laws are obeyed, both law and democracy are served.

There’s also need for Rupiah to be taught what his powers are under the Constitution. Generally, Rupiah has no powers under our Constitution to order the police to arrest or release people anyhow. And equally, Rupiah has no powers to order the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute or not to prosecute anyone. What Rupiah has under the Constitution are powers to pardon people who have been convicted. But even here, there are procedures to be followed – it’s not arbitrary.

So the question is: under which authority did Rupiah order the police to release the Ndola nine, claiming he has pardoned them? And who gave him that authority? Rupiah has simply stolen the powers of the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions and he is using them for corrupt political purposes.

This is not a recipe for governing well and for entrenching the rule of law in the nation. What we saw on Tuesday must be just a tip of the iceberg in terms of Rupiah’s abuse of our judicial process. There are certainly many cases where Rupiah is ordering law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute his political opponents and other people he detests. And equally there must be many cases where he is ordering our law enforcement agencies not to arrest and prosecute his political allies and friends.

And of course, we have all seen how Rupiah has stopped the appeal against the acquittal of his political ally and friend Chiluba. Clearly, there is breakdown in the rule of law in this country. And if Rupiah is not stopped, by the time he leaves office, we will have no judicial process worth talking about – all institutions that administer justice in this country will be reeking with corruption in every pore.

That act of Rupiah in Ndola was meant to make him look benevolent, kind or humane when it is nothing but a criminal act, a gross violation of the supreme law of our country. But everything for Rupiah goes – the means always justifies the end for him.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home