Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rupiah wants immunity back

Rupiah wants immunity back
By Namatama Mundia and Moses Kuwema
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FORMER president Rupiah Banda has asked the Lusaka High Court to quash Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini's decision to proceed to deliberate a motion, which led to the lifting of his immunity because it was illegal and irregular.

And Banda's son, Andrew, says Zambians will be the ultimate judges on the matters surrounding his father.

According to originating notice of motion for an order of centiorari pursuant to the provisions of order 52 of the Rules of the Supreme Court filed in court on Tuesday, Banda has cited Attorney General Mumba Malila as respondent in the matter where he is challenging Speaker Dr Matibini's ruling of March 15, 2013 that it was in order for the motion to be laid before the National Assembly notwithstanding that its legality was being challenged in the High Court.

Banda, through his lawyers Shamwana and Company, Prof Patrick Mvunga, Eric Silwamba and Sakwiba Sikota has stated on the ground of procedural impropriety, that the decision of the National Assembly of Zambia to proceed and to remove his immunity on a simple majority of 80 out of a total of 158 members of parliament was illegal and irregular.

He wants an order of centiorari to remove into court for the purpose of quashing the decision of the National Assembly, by modus operandi of a resolution purporting to lift his immunity.

Banda has also stated that the decision of the National Assembly to deny him an opportunity to be heard and adopt a summary procedure prior to resolving that he was amenable to the jurisdiction of any criminal court was contrary to the principal of the audi alteram partem was therefore illegal and irregular.

He added that the decision to move the motion without due and proper inquiry as to whether the allegations presented as grounds constituted acts performed in his personal or office capacity was illegal and irregular.

On illegality/excess of jurisdiction, Banda stated that the decision by the National Assembly to resolve that he may be charged with any criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him regardless of whether such offence or allegations was included in the catalogue of offences or allegations presented by justice minister Wynter Kabimba in his speech as grounds to move the motion was illegal and in excess of the jurisdiction of the House.

He stated that it was unreasonable for Speaker Matibini to proceed with the motion notwithstanding that a petition challenging the state's intention to lift his immunity had been filed at the High Court and therefore subjudice.

Banda wants an order for costs and that all necessary and consequential directions be given.

The matter has been allocated to judge Anne Sitali.

And in an interview at The Post offices, Andrew said the inner feelings of the majority of Zambians regarding the happenings on his father were unknown.

"The ultimate judges of what goes on are the Zambians themselves. We don't know the inner feelings of the majority Zambians. My advice to the government as this goes on, please let them deliver on their promises, the country is on its knees for development," said Andrew who was reluctant to comment about the removal of his father's immunity.

Andrew said Zambians must be united now than ever before.

"There are people that are for and there are people that are against. So let the due process of the law take its course on the big man's issues," he said.

And in defending St Ignatius Catholic Church priest Fr Charles Chilinda's description of members of parliament who supported the removal of his father's immunity, as not having clean hands, Andrew said Col Panji Kaunda who has since written a letter to the Catholic priest asking him to report people without clean hands to law enforcement agencies, must be fair to the Banda family.

He said Fr Chilinda was free to express his opinion on any national issue.

"That's his personal opinion. There could be many other people out there who do not have platforms like Fr Chilinda has. Let other people express themselves freely. I am not speaking on behalf of my family, I am speaking as Andrew. Col Panji must be fair to this Banda family. He is entitled to his opinion about everything but there have been some family ties from a long time ago. It is this same Rupiah Banda, when Dr Kenneth Kaunda was voted out of office, who stood by the old man right up to the end. You know when you lose power, people run away from you. We have been in touch, the children, the grandchildren when the Kaunda family had some of their children displaced, some of my brothers looked after Col Panji's children in London when he was embattled. Our families have looked after each other well," Andrew said.

Andrew said it was also not fair for Col Panji to say he could walk with his head high.

"Who cannot walk with his head high? I am in court but I can walk with my head high. I don't know of any Banda family member who is walking with his head down. The fact that we have been close as members of the two families, he cannot claim to be clean. He cannot be holier than thou. He was the son of the president and ran some of the most lavish businesses. He had Lupenga airlines, what happened to that? He does not have a background where he worked, he just came from the army so to start questioning where his wealth came from, I think it will be unfair either, those are the privileges that he had and he went bankrupt. Even the issue of his bankruptcy, it is still an issue in this country. Somebody who is bankrupt cannot be appointed to a higher office of minister. In short what I am saying is that people who live in glass houses must not throw stones at others," said Andrew.


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