The statement by Vice President Guy Scott suggesting that former President Rupiah Banda was a flight risk, hence the illegal travel embargo and cancellation of his passport, was as intemperate as it was a deliberate abrogation of the principle of separation of powers between the executive and the Judiciary.
In the first instance it is improper for Dr. Scott to call the former President a “Chap”. A former President has an honored place in the life of the nation and should be accorded the appropriate courtesies and protocols.
Beyond that the statement by the Vice President exposes the perfidy and duplicitous conduct of the executive, which has offered all manner of excuses for blocking the former President from travelling outside the country to attend to Regional and international matters, reserved for people of honour.
It is quite sickening that the originators of this mendacity are so brazen that they no longer bother to be original in their defense for abuse of authority is disregarding the law. They used the same excuse of flight risk to block former President Frederick Chiluba from accessing medical attention.
He did not only prove them wrong but went on to be acquitted against a convoluted and highly questionable case that was brought against him.
We are therefore not surprised that other messages are being read in the Vice President’s remarks, which he may never have intended. A suggestion of racism has been made which we would be very slow to accept.
Suffice to state that the issue of the travel embargo imposed on RB is unlawful, unconstitutional and a gross violation of his inalienable rights.
In her nine Page ruling , (Which we reproduce) at Page 7 of today’s newspaper Judge Anensi Banda Bobo who presided over an application for RB’s passport release to enable him travel to Dar es Salaam for the “Leveraging Technology for Africa’s Social Economic Transformation: The Smart Partnership Way, made a very elaborate and substantive finding which ended with an order for the Joint Investigation Team to release the passport.
As if anticipating this ruling the Government cancelled the passport thereby pre-empting the application and its outcome.
The Judge was very clear in her ruling. She had considered evidence before her. That the former President had his roots firmly entrenched as indicated in his properties. He had young children.
He did not therefore strike her as a flight risk.
In contrast the VP now says RB is a flight risk.
Should a ruling by a Judge of the High Court be challenged by a politician who among other things says South Africans are backward?
This is precisely what the constitution envisaged in separating the functions of the executive and those of the judiciary.