THE demon of removing immunities from former presidents should stop because it was eroding the respect that the office of President was enjoying, former president Rupiah Banda has said.
The practice, he said, was retrogressive and an abuse of process because it abrogated the principle of natural justice and presumption of inocence.
The culture of stripping former leaders of their immunity was not good for the country and called on Zambians to reject the evil schemes of demonising former President because it was only achieving to promote disunity in the country.
He said Zambia as a Christian nation should not accept the culture of demonising former leaders or serving leaders adding that he was happy that President Lungu had been preaching peace, love and reconciliation, the virtues he said could unite the country.
He said having been a victim of hatred perpetrated by a group of individuals, he did not want the culture of removing immunity from former presidents to continue because it was eroding the respect the office of the presidency was enjoying.
Mr Banda said the campaign for the removal of president Chiluba and himself was driven by the same group of individuals who were only motivated by hatred, retribution, vengeance and the desire to control State power.
“Those who have launched the campaign to have President Lungu lose his immunity after serving this country should be satisfied that they succeeded with president Chiluba and myself. This culture should be stopped because it is not good for the country. The people who have been behind this campaign are the same. They did it with Chiluba and they did it with me. I have spent a good part of my time in the courts and I want to show that I am a good citizen despite the amount of propaganda that has been mounted against me.
Now they are bringing people from outside this country to spew hatred against me. I hope they will not succeed with President Lungu,” Mr Banda said.
He said the campaign against President Edgar Lungu should be stopped because it was only perpetrating hatred among citizens.
He said that people should be satisfied that they succeeded in removing his immunity and that of second republican president Frederick Chiluba.
Last week, UPND presidential advisor Douglas Syakalima warned that President Edgar Lungu’s immunity would be removed because of the way he was handling many issues.
But the UPND has since repudiated the statement, stating that it was not party policy to seek the removal of immunity from former Presidents.
Mr Siyakalima warned that President Lungu’s immunity would be lifted immediately after leaving office to pave way for investigations into his government’s questionable operations. Speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday, President Banda said it was saddening that a campaign to have President Lungu lose his immunity had been launched under the guise of fighting corruption.
The former President said it was unfortunate that Zambians had allowed the culture of hunting former leaders which he said was only meant to victimise, embarrass the former presidents by dragging them to courts of law.
He said it was not surprising that some people outside Zambia had been hired to legitmatise an evil cause of demonising him on matters that were currently in court because the group had not come to terms with the fact that Zambians had elected Mr Lungu as the Head of State.
But former Alliance for Better Zambia president Frank Bwalya said the pronouncement by Mr Siyakalima about the party’s intention was enough to convince people that the opposition party had an agenda against President Lungu.