Friday, March 16, 2012

Rupiah and his fears

Rupiah and his fears
By The Post
Fri 16 Mar. 2012, 12:00 CAT

RUPIAH Banda says he feels he is being persecuted by Michael Sata's government. And Rupiah says there is need to give each other respect so that the country moves forward and a way of resolving matters with him must be found before removing his immunity.

There is no one persecuting Rupiah and members of his family. Michael's government has treated Rupiah with a lot more respect than he had treated them when they were in opposition. Rupiah was ruthless and merciless with those who opposed him, those he detested.

But there is no element of revenge on the part of Michael and his government and others who Rupiah mistreated, persecuted. We can with all honesty and sincerity say we are part of the people Rupiah persecuted. Rupiah abused our country's judicial process to fix us, to punish us and destroy us.

And there were judges of our High Court and our Supreme Court who connived with him, who allowed themselves to be used in this attempt to crush us. And the Chief Justice of this Republic, Ernest Sakala, cannot in all honesty deny what we are saying. But there is no bitterness in us, there is no element of hatred or revenge in us. This can also be said about Rajan Mahtani.

Rupiah and his judges connived to finish off this man and his bank. These are also matters that can be proved. Rajan is lucky to be among the living today.

The pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the state. And the rule of law requires equality before the law. If Rupiah and his sons did something wrong, the law, as Michael has correctly pointed out, should take its course.

We have adequate laws that govern the prosecution of a former president. Those laws should be followed if need be. If investigations reveal that Rupiah abused his office to enrich himself, his sons and his friends, he should be prosecuted. Doing this is not setting a culture that will follow every president after he leaves office.

Doing this is setting a culture that does not allow impunity among those elected to govern and administer the affairs of our country. Taken to the extreme, if we were left with only two choices to prosecute every former president for corruption or to allow impunity, a situation where a president steals from his people and goes scot-free, we would not hesitate to choose the former.

The need to respect each other also extends to respect for public property, for the rights and dignity of others. Stealing public resources or abusing public office is disrespect for others, for the rights and dignity of fellow citizens, people one is elected to lead.

Rupiah is suggesting that the government must find ways of resolving matters with him before removing his immunity. What matters? Let him give his suggestions on how these matters he is talking about can be resolved with him.

Let him state what he is offering on this score. But is this the way everybody who has committed a crime or who is suspected of having committed a crime should resolve matters? All of us should be given an opportunity of finding ways of resolving matters with the state before we are prosecuted or sent to prison! We are saying this in the light of the right to equality before the law or equal protection of the law, which every citizen should enjoy.

If Rupiah and his sons are innocent as he claims, let them do what people who feel they are innocent do: subject themselves to investigations and prosecution. When there were claims of Rajan having done something wrong at his bank and threats were being issued for his arrest, Rajan, who was in the United Kingdom attending medical treatment, abandoned that and came back home, against the advice of most of his friends, to face his accusers.

He didn't run away. His prayer was that if he had done something wrong, let him be taken to court so that he can have his day and clear his name. He was more concerned about clearing his name in court and not about the persecution he was indeed subjected to. Equally, when Rupiah was accusing us of having pocketed US$30 million from state institutions, our cry was: arrest and prosecute us if we have stolen anything from anyone.

Rupiah and his friends investigated us and found nothing. But they had no sense of honesty and dignity to tell the Zambian people that they had found nothing and kept on telling lies and insinuating all sorts of things. This is the man who today is talking about the need to give each other respect so that the country can move forward. What respect for others?

Rupiah has made it very clear that he knows where his son Henry is and he talks to him. Rupiah knows that Henry is wanted by the police here. If the Bandas are as innocent as they want to make us believe, why can't they ask Henry to come back and answer police questions? The truth is, in their heart of hearts, Rupiah and his sons know that they are not as innocent as they are claiming. They also know that nobody is persecuting them.

What they simply don't want is to be made accountable for the wrong things they did, for the crimes they committed. We all know that Rupiah has been working toward this impunity line for some time. In collusion with our discredited judiciary, Rupiah freed Chiluba from going to jail for corruption in order to establish a precedent, a culture where no president who steals goes to jail.

This was denounced long before Michael became president. This has nothing to do with Michael being president. And it doesn't matter who is president, the rule of law must always prevail and reign supreme.

It's clear that to Rupiah, what matters is his personal welfare and that of his close associates. He says he shed tears after his defeat in last year's presidential elections because his colleagues would lose jobs and their children would not go to school. But why should electoral defeat be so painful, so bitter and make an old man of Rupiah's age cry? As Joseph Clark observed, "defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it." It seems Rupiah swallowed it and it made him cry.

Jobs for Rupiah and his colleagues was all that mattered to them and not the plight of the 12 or 13 million other Zambians who did not have jobs in his government. Everything was about themselves and for themselves and by themselves. This is not behaviour that can attract respect for a leader or former leader.

If anyone has in his heart a vestige of love for his country, love for his people, love for justice, one cannot say the things Rupiah is saying. To save his job as president of our Republic and those of his colleagues, Rupiah was shameless and ruthless on those who opposed his rule.

He poured endless streams of lies and slander, poured forth in his crude, odious repulsive language all sorts of malice on his opponents, real and perceived. But the people of Zambia saw through him and refused to swallow his lies, insults and malice and voted him out.

To have believed him for a single moment would have sufficed to fill a man of conscience with remorse and shame for the rest of his life. Rupiah did not even attempt to cover up appearances. Rupiah and his men in our judiciary and other agencies of the state did not bother in the least to conceal what they were doing. They thought they had deceived the people with their lies and they ended up deceiving themselves.

They felt themselves lords and masters of the universe, with power over life and death. Of course, in every society there are men of base instinct - the sadists, brutes who guise themselves as human beings when they are nothing but monsters, only more or less restrained by discipline and social habit.

If they are offered a drink from a river of blood, they will not be satisfied until they drink the river dry. At their hands, and at the hands of their accomplices in robes, the best and noblest, the most valiant, the most honest Zambians suffered.

These tyrants, these corrupt elements called them crooks.
If respecting each other means allowing criminals of all hues to abuse our people, then there is a problem because the man who permits any man to trample and mistreat the country in which he was born, his people is not an honourable man, he is not a self-respecting man and one cannot respect others if one does not respect oneself. There must be a certain degree of honour.

And honour dictates that those who commit crimes against the people, those who steal the people's honour be tried for their crimes.

It is understandable that honest men had to suffer in a Republic where the president is a criminal and a thief.

Probably Rupiah knows very well what type of judiciary he has left behind and he knows that he will not receive a fair trial before it.

This is why he and his children are probably so scared of being prosecuted.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home