“This letter forms part of a wider crackdown against the rights of the opposition, and is clearly an attempt by a morally bankrupt regime to hold trial by headline,” said Amsterdam.
“The political manipulation of the ACC by the Patriotic Front (PF) government is a sad commentary on the present state of affairs in Zambia.”
Former President Banda, who served as Zambia’s head of state from 2008 to 2011, has been decorated with numerous honours and has been featured as a keynote speaker and election observer across the region.
The letter from the Rosewin Wandi, Director-General of the ACC, was sent on 4 February 2013, despite the fact that former President Banda holds presidential immunity.
He said that last December, President Michael Sata publicly threatened Ms. Wandi telling her that the ACC would have to ask his permission to investigate government ministers – an event which prompted outcry from civil society groups such as the Law Association of Zambia.
“Unfortunately, in Zambia today under the PF, the anti-corruption campaign has itself become discredited and corrupted as a tool of political persecution judging by the arbitrary selection of targets, inaction on cases of actual substance, and the fundamental lack of evidence,” said Amsterdam. “This latest absurdity concerning former President Banda cannot be taken seriously.”