Friday, August 16, 2013

What type of father is Rupiah?
By Editor
Sat 27 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

IT may be wise for Rupiah Banda to leave the determination of the corruption charges he is facing to the courts of law.

We know that Rupiah has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him but this doesn't end his prosecution. Evidence is being adduced by those who have accused him of corruption. And witnesses are being called to testify and be cross-examined by him.

The criminal proceedings against Rupiah are being conducted in public and even before the case closes and the court delivers its judgment, the Zambian people will be in a position to determine as to whether or not Rupiah is being falsely accused of corruption. Trying to otherwise clear his name through news media utterances and outbursts will not do.

The Zambian people are not fools. They are following the proceedings in the courts of law and these are being reported verbatim in this newspaper. No one will be able to tell lies about what happened or did not happen.

Rupiah is actually being unfair to himself by trying to clear himself of corruption through such utterances and outbursts. This is so because by such utterances and outbursts, Rupiah is inviting others to respond and prove that he is not as clean a man as he claims.

And it is not surprising that the same Rupiah, who is claiming to be innocent and to be subjected to false criminal accusations, is telling his son Henry not to come back to Zambia because he will be tortured. By who? And for what?

Henry ran away from this country as soon as his father lost elections, without anyone pursuing him. Why? Henry knew what he had done. And the evidence that we are hearing from the courts of law is a clear pointer to why Henry ran away from this country and has refused to come back to face the law.

But it is shocking that Rupiah, a former president and head of state of this Republic, can publicly encourage his son to be a fugitive, to permanently stay away from being prosecuted for fraud and corruption.

There's no doubt Henry has a few explanations to make concerning his own conduct and that of his father. It seems Rupiah and Henry are not comfortable with both. But still, how can Rupiah encourage his son to run away from Zambian law enforcement agencies? As a former president of this Republic, Rupiah is supposed to lead in showing respect for the law. Why should other Zambian citizens be subjected to the laws of this country and its law enforcement agencies when his own son is being told by himself not to? What would happen to this country if everyone who is suspected of having committed a crime is allowed and encouraged to flee?

Under his rule, Rupiah allowed other people to be prosecuted for corruption. George Mpombo is still in court under charges which were brought against him by the state when Rupiah was president. Mpombo didn't flee the country. Rupiah had accused us of all sorts of things. We didn't flee. Rajan Mathani was accused of criminal acts he never committed and came back from England where he was receiving medical treatment to face Rupiah's criminal charges.

It's clear that Rupiah has no problems with lawlessness. What matters to him is who is being pursued. If it is another Zambian, it doesn't matter; if it is himself or his son, it matters. It seems to Rupiah the concept of the rule of law and equality before the law has little meaning when it affects him or members of his family.

Rupiah says "I will never allow him to come here. They want him to come here so that they can torture him. I tell him you have done nothing wrong, just stay where you areā€¦" So, Henry is a fugitive because his father wants him to be a fugitive and has not allowed him to come back.

What type of father is this? And why should Henry be tortured when no one else has been tortured? Torture is not allowed in this country and those who torture others are committing crimes for which they must be prosecuted. And why should Henry be tortured when no other son of Rupiah has been tortured? James lives here and no one has arrested or tortured him! The other sons of Rupiah come in and out of this country without any law enforcement officers pursuing them. They have no immunity but no one has arrested or tortured them. The question is, why Henry?

The truth is Rupiah knows very well the many wrong things he was doing with his son Henry. And because of this, Rupiah doesn't want Henry to come back here because if he is arrested and prosecuted, many things will come out not only about Henry himself but also about the corruption of his father, Rupiah. From what has been heard so far, it's clear that Rupiah was using his son to do wrong things. What type of father is this who can send his son to do wrong things? Even asking Henry to stay away from Zambia when Rupiah knows that law enforcement agencies in this country are looking for him is encouraging his son to do wrong things. When law enforcement agencies are looking for your son, as a law-abiding citizen, the most logical thing to do is to ask him to give himself up and have his day in court. Only a reckless and criminally-minded parent can ask his son to be a fugitive.

But if Rupiah can ask his son to run away from law enforcement agencies, what can stop Rupiah from one day deciding to be a fugitive himself? It's easy to understand why state authorities think Rupiah, if given a chance, can flee - he sees nothing wrong with one running away from being made to account by law-enforcement agencies.

Without calling for vengeance - because you can't build a united nation on the basis of vengeance - it is interesting to note how Rupiah is calling others to virtues that he himself has never been willing to practice. Before teaching others, before changing others, we ourselves must change. We must be honest, sincere and kind-hearted. We should encourage the same high standards of integrity that we ask of others.
It is important to remind Rupiah that like him and his sons, all other human beings want happiness and dislike suffering. If Rupiah took that into account, he and his sons wouldn't have done the things they did.

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