Government should not apply “double standards” when handling serious national issues such as the planned lifting of immunity for President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, says former Transport Minister William Harrington.
Mr Harrington noted that government was working day and night to find ways to press for the lifting of Mr Banda’s immunity so that he could be investigated for corruption activities while in office.
“Whereas on one hand, all ways and means are being harnessed by government to press for the lifting of the former President’s immunity and pave way for corruption investigations and possible prosecution, on the other hand there is silence on the appointment of a tribunal to investigate allegations levelled against a named Cabinet Minister as provided by law where documentary evidence of abuse of office and breach of the Constitution has been availed.”
Mr Harrington alleged that since the creation of the PF government, there was a strong view that there was resistance in appointing a tribunal over a more serious allegation of abuse of office and corruption, instead of diverting attention to removal of Mr Banda’s immunity.
“I respect the Constitutional principle of “separation of powers” between the Executive and the Judiciary, and we are fortunate that our learned Minister of Justice as now head of the justice system is himself fully aware of the provisions of the Act. He, together with former Attorney General Bonaventure Mutale very effectively acted on behalf of we, the people, in the Dennis CHIRWA-led tribunal appointed by then Hon. Chief Justice Ernest Sakala to investigate allegations made against the then Minister of Communications and Transport.
“As our Justice Minister is aware, Supreme Court Ernest Sakala appointed that tribunal without demanding for submission of affidavits from witnesses. He may wish to question as to why goal posts are now being shifted.”
He said the apparent delay in the dispensation of justice should be of serious concern to all well-meaning citizens, adding that it would have been prudent if Mr Banda was first found with a case to answer.
Mr Harrington said moves to lift immunity of Mr Banda would take too many years to gather necessary information, but insisted they were serious pending cases of abuse of office awaiting justice.