President Banda has filed a petition in the High Court challenging the immunity debate that government is expected to table today.
In his affidavit in support of the petition Mr Banda says it has come to his knowledge that government intends to table a motion during the second session of the eleventh National Assembly to lift his immunity.
But Attorney-General Mumba Malimba said that his office had not yet been served with the petition and could not comment on the matter.
In his action Mr Banda wants the High court to interpret whether the executive can lay before the National Assembly and debate grounds or charges for lifting his immunity without giving him an opportunity to be heard.
He further wants the court to interpret whether the executive can lay before the National Assembly and debates ground or charges for lifting his immunity that relates to duties that were not in his personal capacity.
Mr Banda also says he has been advised by his advocate that his immunity can only be legally and constitutionally removed if he was given an opportunity to be heard.
Secondly, moves to lift his immunity could come about after a full and proper inquiry was undertaken by the National Assembly that the alleged acts raised by the executive were undertaken in his personal capacity.
“I am advised by my advocate and I verily believe that the question of procedure when dealing with a resolution of the National Assembly to lift the immunity of a person who held, but no longer holds office of the Republican President was raised in the first session of 9th National Assembly but was not addressed fully” he said in his affidavit.
Mr Banda’s legal team intends to aggressively pursue all legal avenues to halt the false allegations and expose the unlawful conduct of the PF before the international community.
Already Mr Banda’s international lawyer Robert Amsterdam has denounced the measure as a politically motivated desecration of the rule of law.
Amsterdam indicated that the calls to remove former President Banda’s immunity only began following the submission of a report to the Commonwealth on behalf of the opposition and civil society, filed on January 25, 2013, requesting an investigation into rampant violations of civil and political rights by the PF government.
“By attempting to remove former President Banda’s immunity in the absence of any evidence, case, let alone any specific allegations of any wrongdoing, the PF government is attempting to subvert rule of law in order to remove any and all political competitors from the scene,” said Amsterdam. “They are behaving exactly in the manner that we predicted one year ago, beginning with the false accusations against his son which of course went nowhere, while destroying Zambia’s international reputation as a law-abiding democracy in the process.”
“Under normal constitutional precedent, the issue should now be tabled and not discussed tomorrow. Whether or not the Patriotic Front continues this unlawful process tomorrow or awaits the court order will speak volumes about their commitment to rule of law,” said Amsterdam.
Amsterdam said President Banda is a distinguished elder statesman who is celebrated internationally for his contributions to the peaceful, democratic development of Africa, and these false accusations by a discredited and abusive government shall not stand.
“One cannot simply begin with the verdict and go backwards toward the case, evidence, and accusation, you have to do it the other way around,” said Amsterdam, “And the PF’s failure to follow normal procedure is a sign of their political motivation: this is not an exercise related to any real or imagined crime, but rather a hasty political ploy set in motion by a desperate party. But we should all ask: why the urgency? Why timed for the very last session of parliament? Why has the PF been rushing forward ever since President Michael Sata returned from his last trip abroad?”
“Joseph Stalin once said ‘show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime,’ but in the case of the PF’s attack against former President Banda, they haven’t even gotten that far,” said Amsterdam.
Mr Banda is represented by Messrs Central Chambers, LL Mundia & Company. George Kunda & Company and Mvunga & Associates.