Thursday, March 07, 2013

Amsterdam a gold digger - Kabimba

Amsterdam a gold digger - Kabimba
By Joseph Mwenda and Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 07 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Opposition playing into Amsterdam's agenda... JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba has described international lawyer Robert Amsterdam as a senile old man who is a gold digger.

Kabimba said this in an interview after the Commonwealth fact-finding team yesterday held a meeting with the Zambian government in which Cabinet ministers present and judicial representatives challenged the opposition petition to the international body.

The Commonwealth secretariat was represented by Jarvis Matiya and Koffi Soya while the Zambian government was represented by Solicitor General Musa Mwenye, Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito, foreign affairs minister Effron Lungu, information and broadcasting minister Kennedy Sakeni and Kabimba, among others.

Kabimba thanked the Commonwealth secretary general for sending a team to come and get the truth from the Zambian government.

"This follows the document that was submitted to them by the opposition under the team called the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) with Mr Robert Amsterdam as their Godfather," he said.

"The opposition and Amsterdam wanted to sneak that document to the secretariat but they didn't know that international organisations don't work like that."

Kabimba said Amsterdam was trying to make a fortune from leaders that had allegedly squandered the treasury of their own people.

"Mr Amsterdam is a senile old man who is a gold-digger… He wants to turn the victims of such situations into villains and villains into victims. President (Thaksin) Shinawatra ran a corrupt regime against the people of Thailand, so the people of Thailand were the victims of his deeds and so is Mr Rupiah Banda," he said.

Reminded that Banda warned that the current government would be haunted by the precedence it was setting on removing his immunity, Kabimba said the PF leadership was not afraid.

"We are not afraid of that (having our immunity lifted) after leaving office. This is precedence now that we are setting. So it is incumbent upon us in public office that we shall do so in the service of the people of our country and not to enrich ourselves," he said.

Kabimba said the government presented its position to the Commonwealth secretariat and showed evidence of the lies peddled by the CDDR.

"There was a clear attempt by Mr Amsterdam, Rupiah Banda, Hakainde Hichilema, Pastor Mumba and Sakwiba Sikota to mislead the international community that Zambia was sliding back to the one party state, that their civil rights were being infringed, that their freedom of association was being interfered with and their freedom of expression…there was an attempt by the Zambian government to obliterate the opposition, that our Judiciary did not enjoy any judicial independence. And that the public order Act was infringing on their civil rights. To their dismay, the team has availed the same document to us and we have responded through this team to the issues that they raised in that document.

The issues were either distorted or totally false in substance," he said.

"We were able to respond and clearly show that this is an attempt by citizens of a country as leaders of the opposition to vilify and malign their own country in collaboration with citizens of a foreign country, purely to source financing from or through Mr Amsterdam for their weakening political fortunes back home. They are acting like conmen purportedly riding on a political platform to raise money for themselves."

Kabimba said the opposition was helping champion Amsterdam's agenda.

"They are playing into Mr Amsterdam's agenda to protect Mr Rupiah Banda and his family against the offences that they committed for the people of Zambia during his reign. We were able to tell the Commonwealth team that this is a scheme to circumvent the due process of the law here in Zambia to call Mr Rupiah Banda and his family to account for the wrongs they committed while in government," he said.

"We told them that this is a group of opposition political parties that all over a sudden have turned against their own public pronouncements that the MMD was a corrupt government, today they see nothing wrong about the wrongs committed by the MMD against the people of Zambia.

We also told the Commonwealth team that it is not the intention of the PF government to kill the opposition. The problems facing the opposition are internal and not external. The MMD and UPND leadership have failed to win the confidence of the Zambian people in the manner that the PF did during the time it was in opposition."

He said the Commonwealth team did not immediately respond to the government's submission.

"They didn't give us any response because this is a fact-finding mission. They will have to go back and submit a report to the Commonwealth secretary general," Kabimba said.

And reacting to Mumba's claim that the State entered into a nolle prosequi in his case because they were afraid of the Commonwealth team which was in the country, Kabimba reminded him that he still had another case in court.

"This is not the first time that the State has entered a nolle prosegui against an accused person. In fact, if you want to show how preposterous that assertion is by Mumba, you will see that a nolle has been entered against a case in his disorderly conduct and not the one where he is alleged of having abused his office while he was High Commissioner in Canada. That case is still running and he can be assured that no nolle will be entered against that case. We shall go all the way to show the people that we respect the independence of the Judiciary," said Kabimba.

And according to sources, the Commonwealth team has assured government that the petition presented by opposition political parties did not contain serious issues to worry about.

"Of course we put forward our case as government, one of them being the bitterness the opposition have shown ever since they lost the election. We also gave them the background to this whole issue; that our colleagues have been driven by bitterness and jealous from the time they lost the election. On the other hand, we had a dossier about our colleagues in the opposition which we presented to the Commonwealth team," said sources.

"And they told us that from what our colleagues presented to them, there was nothing serious that we should worry about. They said there is nothing that should warrant Zambia's suspension from the Commonwealth or that any sanctions should be imposed on Zambia. So the opposition were simply wasting their time by incurring such expenses of holding a conference in a foreign land to denounce their own government."

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