The Patriotic Front (PF) government is panicking after the unjust removal of former President Rupiah Banda’s immunity following a fall out with regional leaders in the diplomatic community.
And the University of Zambia (UNZA) academician Cholwe Beyani observes that the removal of Mr. Banda’s immunity is haunting the PF leadership and its cartel managing the legal system of the country and they now want to criminalize his (Mr. Banda)’s meeting with diplomats. The fall out follows the unorthodox manner in which immunity was removed.
According to PF Secretary General who is also Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, immunity was removed on the last day of parliament in an ambush, based on a strategy to take the opposition by surprise.
Dr. Beyani told the Daily Nation that it was strange that former President Banda’s visit to the South African embassy had sent the entire PF government and its allies into panic and attempts to blacklist him from the entire world were underway.
He said that it was disastrous and dangerous route the PF led government had taken in a bid to finish the former head of state whose leadership achievement was renowned internationally.
Dr. Beyani said that attempts by the PF government to criminalize Mr. Banda was exposed by planting people to keep an eye on the former president’s visit to the South African Embassy when they consciously knew that there was no offence or law that stops him from meeting diplomats whatsoever.
Dr. Beyani said that the PF government should now explain to the people of why they were showing signs of panic with Mr. Banda’s visit to the embassy to the extent of wanting to criminalize the move by the former head of state.
“I want to challenge the PF government and their allies to explain to the people of Zambia why they want to criminalize Mr. Banda’s visit to the Embassy of South Africa? Let them tell the people of Zambia what was wrong with Mr. Banda’s visit? These people are panicking because they know that they are persecuting the former head of state. Nothing is illegal about Mr. Banda’s visit to the embassy. They must know that there is no law that stops anyone from visiting and holding meetings with diplomats. The move to talk about Mr. Banda’s visit is hell bent and a corrupt way of abusing the power of the media in a corrupt way,” he said.
Dr. Beyani noted that it was Mr. Banda’s right and freedom to meet people at any embassy he wished just like the Patriotic Front (PF) leader while in the opposition held various meetings with different diplomats.
He said that, “why the panic and where is it coming from? What is wrong with RB visiting embassies? This is total witch hunt by the PF whose failure to provide and fulfill their campaign promises is also haunting them.”
Dr. Beyani said that the picture being created by the PF government and its allies that it was wrong for Mr. Banda to visit diplomats because of the court cases was not in the best interest of the nation, as it was not attached to the visit he made.
The South African government according to the Post newspapers said that High Commissioner Kgoshi Piet Mathebe was only discharging his diplomatic duties by holding a meeting with Mr. Banda.
South Africa’s Department for International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said on Friday that High Commissioner Mathebe was only discharging his diplomatic duties.
“This applies to all diplomats all over the world…even Zambian diplomats in South Africa; they meet people from all walks of life all times as part of discharging their diplomatic duties. We really can’t be explaining why the High Commissioner is meeting person A or person B,” Monyela said. “He will interact with different people all the time as part of discharging his duties.”