Friday, April 12, 2013

Nevers' reasoning is saddening
By Editor
Fri 12 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Nevers Mumba says "what is happening to president Rupiah Banda is very sad, very, very sad for Zambia, very, very bad for democracy. A man did his very best in three years, brought some of the most accomplished development of our country and all that he gets at the end is the removal of his immunity, being harassed! I think we don't need this as Zambia, we need to be mature, we need to be accommodating and we need to be loving and allow the president to serve and go and settle at their farms".

It is very, very sad for Zambia and very, very bad for democracy that a man who wants to be president of this country can think in the very narrow and selfish way Nevers is thinking. No individual, whatever his merits, should be placed above the collective, above the common good of our homeland and of all our people.

Rupiah is not the first president of a country to be prosecuted for corruption. And Zambians are not the first people to prosecute their presidents who have abused their trust. Many countries have done it. It has been done in Europe, Asia, Latin America and in other parts of Africa. Corruption is a scourge no government, no people should tolerate.

All countries of the world, including our own country, have laws to punish wrongdoers. These laws were not enacted to punish only the poor and humble citizens and let the kings and presidents got scot-free when they commit crimes. It doesn't matter and it shouldn't matter who you are or what you have been; what merits you possess or what accomplishments you have delivered. If you commit a crime, the law should take its course. And Rupiah is not being prosecuted outside the law. The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia clearly provides for the removal of presidential immunity if a person who was president but is no longer president is believed or is found to have committed a crime while serving as president. Rupiah is believed to have abused his office to enrich himself and his family at the expense of the collective Zambian people. What is wrong with removing his immunity and taking him to court?

We know that the philosophy Nevers is propagating comes from Rupiah himself. Rupiah made it very clear that he was not happy with the prosecution of Frederick Chiluba for corruption by the Levy Mwanawasa-led MMD government. Throughout the years Rupiah was Levy's vice-president, he never voiced his opposition to the prosecution of Chiluba. The only time Rupiah found it unacceptable to prosecute Chiluba for corruption was when he himself became president. Why? It is because he didn't want that to happen to him after he left office.

Rupiah knew very well that he was incapable of not abusing his office to enrich himself, his family and friends. And in pursuance of that, Rupiah did many wrong things, including the abuse of the Judiciary to free Chiluba from going to jail. It was not that humble magistrate Jones Chinyama who decided on his own to acquit Chiluba. It was a decision that was imposed on him to carry out and he carried it out with shame. It was not the decision of that spineless Director of Public Prosecutions Chalwe Mchenga to stop the appeal of Chiluba's acquittal. It was a decision that he was told to carry out and he carried it out. Behind all that was Rupiah and those in the Judiciary he had abused to serve his interests.

All this doesn't sadden Nevers. All this is what Nevers wants this nation to continue doing.

Good nations and good people respect the good contributions of their leaders but are never blinded by that when it comes to punishing wrongdoing. The Brazilians, and indeed the whole world, have great respect for their former president Lula Da Silva. But today they have placed him under investigation for corruption following the successful prosecution of his aide who was found to be corrupt. This is what the rule of law means. Even the most popular, most respected, most admired, the most adored ruler is not placed above the law.

The Italians have their former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi being prosecuted for all sorts of abuses. Is it because they have no respect for those who have governed the affairs of their country? Is it because they have no love in their hearts for their former rulers?
What about the French people? Former president Jacques Chirac was prosecuted for corruption. And Nicolas Sarkozy is also being investigated for corruption. Does that mean the new rulers of Italy and France are bad and vindictive people?

The current President of Brazil was an aide to Lula. Are we being told that she has turned against Lula and has become vindictive and hateful?
We are saddened by Nevers' narrowness and shallowness of mind and thought. Being a former religious leader, we expected Nevers to think in a bit more upright way and have a correct interpretation of things.

We were taught that there was a constant struggle between good and evil, and evil had to be punished. We were also taught that those who committed crimes and were responsible for injustice, evil and all those other things that upright people are fighting against today would be punished in hell. Could that be interpreted as an expression of hatred, vindictiveness? There is no greater love for a wrongdoer, a politician who abuses public trust and corruptly abuses his office to enrich himself than to remove his immunity and have him prosecuted and stop him from enjoying the fruits of his crime.

And the Zambian people have to be consistent on this issue. Every politician who abuses his office, who steals from his poor people deserves to be prosecuted and, if found guilty, sent to jail. This is a standard that should not be violated or bent because we like somebody, he is our friend or political ally. Friend or ally, the law should always take its course. And it won't matter how many times we do it. If our presidents don't learn, each and every one of them will lose their immunity and one day, one of them will go to jail.

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