Thursday, April 05, 2012

When will Rupiah learn to be honest?

When will Rupiah learn to be honest?
By The Post
Thu 05 Apr. 2012, 13:55 CAT

WHEN will Rupiah Banda learn to be honest; when will he learn to tell the truth? Rupiah was dishonest before he became president; he continued to be dishonest while occupying the office of president of the Republic; and he is still dishonest today. There is absolutely no need for Rupiah to lie to his audience at Boston University about the truth that everybody knows. In trying to tell the political history of Zambia, Rupiah conveniently decides not to disclose where he stood in 1991. He even fails to disclose to his audience when he left UNIP to join MMD.

This was not an oversight; it was deliberate because Rupiah wants only to associate with that which he thinks is right and acceptable. Rupiah wants to give himself the credit he doesn't deserve.

Rupiah says what he is most proud of during his presidency is less visible:

"It was our administration's steadfast refusal to allow the executive branch to encroach on other branches of government, to stand by the principles of democracy that had been damaged in the past."

What principles of democracy had been damaged in the past that Rupiah stood by, defended, promoted or upheld? Is Rupiah claiming to have been a better president, to have defended the principles of democracy better than Levy Mwanawasa? Is he telling us that he defended the principles of democracy better than Frederick Chiluba? Rupiah was a member of UNIP throughout.

Even when others were leaving UNIP for the MMD, Rupiah stayed in UNIP and defended its outlook. Rupiah only joined the MMD when Levy drafted him into his 2006 election campaign and later made him vice-president of the Republic. So what principles of democracy did Rupiah advance better than Levy, Chiluba and Kenneth Kaunda? The truth is the opposite.

It is a well-known fact in Zambia that Rupiah abused the Judiciary to get whatever decisions he wanted. Our entire judicial process under Rupiah was corrupted to suit his desires. Political opponents were arrested and prosecuted for all sorts of things while his allies went scot-free on similar issues.

Rupiah says his government was criticised over a Zambian court decision regarding Chiluba, who had been found guilty of corruption in a civil case by the London High Court. "Essentially, I was being demanded as president to personally intervene in the judicial process and violate the separation of powers to force the judiciary to uphold a British decision against Chiluba, who, it must be recognised, was seen as an enormously popular leader by a large number of people in the country," claims Rupiah.

There is no Zambian who had demanded of Rupiah to intervene in Chiluba's cases and send him to jail. It was Rupiah himself who chose to intervene and free Chiluba from going to jail and from paying back what he had stolen from the Zambian people. And this came out of his own dishonest and lying mouth. Even before Jones Chinyama, the magistrate who was hearing Chiluba's criminal case could finish reading his judgment, Rupiah was already justifying Chiluba's acquittal some 150 kilometres away in Kabwe.

How did he know that Chiluba had been acquitted before the magistrate pronounced this? Rupiah was even asking the Zambian people, pleading with the Zambian people to accept Chiluba's acquittal before magistrate Chinyama had finished reading his handwritten judgment. How possible was this? Rupiah made it very clear that it would be irresponsible of him to allow Chiluba to go to jail.

And this became his campaign message among the Bemba- speaking people, especially those of Luapula Province where Chiluba hailed. Rupiah continued to boast about how he had freed Chiluba from going to jail. There was an appeal that was lodged by the prosecutors of Chiluba. Rupiah connived with the then Director of Public Prosecutions Chalwe Mchenga to withdraw that appeal.

And today, this shameless liar wants to claim that he had no hand in all that! He wants to lie to the American people and the whole world that there were some people who were forcing him to interfere with the country's judicial process and get Chiluba convicted! There should be a limit to lies, to dishonesty, to manipulation.

Equally, in the case of the London High Court judgment, Rupiah and his government did not behave honourably. Rupiah's government, through his Attorney General Abyudi Shonga, refused to appeal the clearly faulty judgment of judge Evans Hamaundu refusing to register the London High Court judgment so that it could be enforced against Chiluba and his tandem of thieves.

In both this and the criminal proceedings against Chiluba, the Law Association of Zambia criticised Rupiah and his government's approach to the issue and demanded that the matters be appealed.

But Rupiah did not yield in his criminal scheme to deny the Zambian people the justice they deserved. And today this same Rupiah wants to insult the Zambian people that they were forcing him to interfere with the Judiciary and have Chiluba convicted!

It is said that if you can lie, you can steal and if you can steal, you can kill.

Rupiah claims that when his presidency began, he continued the fight against corruption, and sought to base these anti-corruption efforts on a sound statutory framework that would conduct prosecutions in a lawful manner. What Rupiah did was simply to stop the fight against corruption so that his league could steal public resources with impunity. In no time, Rupiah and his sons who were, before he joined government, being pursued by bailiffs here and there, became very liquid, very rich.

How was this possible? It is no wonder that today Rupiah's son, Henry, is being pursued by the Zambian government for corruption and an Interpol alert has been raised for his arrest. And we have no doubt more would be unearthed about Rupiah's own personal conduct and it's just a matter of time before he is called to account.

Rupiah says he is very proud of his achievements while in office. Yes, he has every reason to be proud because he has made a lot of money, he has accumulated a lot of wealth, together with his sons, in a record period of time - three years. For a person without shame, without principles and standards, this is something to be proud of.

Equally, Rupiah says he is proud of his campaign last fall: "In an election contested by three major parties and seven smaller parties, our party secured the votes of 35 per cent of the country, and lost by a narrow margin of around 180,000 votes in a hard-fought contest."

But Rupiah is not telling his audience how this 35 per cent of the vote was secured. Rupiah is not telling them that he had engaged in the most extravagant, expensive and corrupt election campaign ever seen in the history of Zambia.

Rupiah is not telling them how he had abused state resource, including the state-owned media to secure only 35 per cent of the vote. And moreover, Rupiah is calling 180,000 votes a narrow margin, but he is not telling his American audience about the 35,000 votes he had obtained over Michael Sata in an equally corrupt election of 2008 that put him into power.

No wonder he has the record of being the only elected president in Africa who only reigned for three years and was voted out. If he was so popular three years ago, what made him so unpopular three years later? Rupiah needs to explain this to his American audience.

Rupiah claims that Chiluba "was seen as an enormously popular leader by a large number of people in the country". Rupiah had the political support of Chiluba. Why did he still lose the election with that support on his back? Chiluba had lost the respect of the Zambian people because of his corruption. That's why even in Chiluba's own village, his friend Rupiah lost the election to Michael.

Again, when will Rupiah learn to tell the truth?

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