Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rupiah refuses to be pressured over Lozi detainees

Rupiah refuses to be pressured over Lozi detainees
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 12 Feb. 2011, 04:02 CAT

PRESIDENT RUPIAH Banda says he can only release the 22 Lozis charged with treason when it is necessary to do so.

Responding to questions from journalists yesterday at Lusaka's City Airport before departure for Isoka on a one day working visit, President Banda said he could not be pressured by anyone into releasing the 22 treason detainees.

When reminded that the Catholic Bishops whom he met about two weeks ago had later in a statement appealed to him to release the detainees, President Banda expressed surprise at the Bishops’ statement.

“We have had our own discussions with the Bishops. We had a very long meeting with them. They know our position because we told them, and we know their position. So I’m surprised that they made that statement,” President Banda said. “In any case, as President of this country, I will make the decision when it’s necessary, not by pressure from somebody.”

President Banda said he agreed with the Litunga’s position that the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was not about secession. He said Zambia was one country and that people could talk without using violence.

On the position of vice-president in the MMD which some party cadres have said should be left to Republican Vice-President George Kunda, President Banda called for fair competition on all positions.

“People have to declare their intentions freely then the people party members will decide what to do with them. I think leaders should not be like that, they should not be personal. People should choose their own candidates; you don’t vote for someone who you think will disrupt your country or organisation. I think that’s not right,” said President Banda.

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