Fourth president Rupiah Banda did not attend the meeting held by leading opposition leaders and civil society from Zambia, his office said Tuesday evening.
“We wish to correct the impression created by some sections of the media that His Excellency Rupiah Banda, the Fourth President of the Republic of Zambia, was allegedly among the people that attended the press conference of Zambian opposition political parties and civil society organizations in Johannesburg today,” president Banda’s Administrative Secretary Mikatezo Wakumelo explained in a press release. “It is our sincere hope that this record can be put straight for the benefit of the general public.”
Band’s office was reacting to a press statement released Tuesday afternoon by Chief Government Spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni here below.
As Government we challenge former president Rupiah Bwezani Banda to come out clean over today’s press conference held in Rosebank, South Africa by some embattled Zambian opposition political leaders who include UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, MMD’s Nevers Mumba and ULP’s Sakwiba Sikota.
During this ‘paid –for’ press conference, the so-called opposition leaders accused this Government of among other things; harassing, intimidating and attacking members of the opposition; that His Excellency, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata is trying to enforce a one-party state; that President Sata is stoking ethnic tensions in the country and they further proceeded in a preposterous manner to call for the suspension of Zambia from the Commonwealth on account of these alleged violations and human rights abuses.
As Government, we are aware of Mr. Banda’s direct links to these immature and embarrassingly unpatriotic fruitless schemes. For example, is it a coincidence that Mr. Banda has been to South Africa twice in a week; he first left on 6th February accompanied by Mr. Dickson Jere and returned on 7th February; only to leave again for the same destination the following day – 8th February, 2013. And on 9th February, 2013, Pastor Mumba accompanied by Pastor Nakachinda similarly left for South Africa; only to be followed by Mr. Hichilema, who was accompanied by Mr. Jack Mwiimbu on 10th February, 2013. The result of these hasty and deceitful trips is today’s sponsored press conference in Rosebank!
Our word of advice to Mr. Banda and his newly constituted ‘defence’ team of Pastor Mumba, Mr. Hichilema and Mr. Sikota is that the matters he is facing shall be justly determined within the Zambian jurisdiction. Therefore, let them make no mistake because this PF Government is resolved to seek justice with regards to Mr. Banda and his children’s alleged involvement in the plunder of this country’s public resources. We shall follow the laid down legal procedures and processes to seek justice for the Zambian people.
No amount of political blackmail and media stunts will stop us from fulfilling this campaign promise we made to the Zambian people. The allegations of corruption against Mr. Banda and his family were not only made by us; they were also made by some of his newly found friends like Mr. Hichilema and also there was heightened international concern about the levels of corruption in Mr. Banda’s Government. Prompting Mr. Banda to tell international donors at that time to pack and go.
The truth of the matter is Mr. Banda is facing a credible investigation. And this Government has accorded Mr. Banda respect so far as his legal rights and freedoms are concerned. We therefore wonder what Mr. Banda is scared of to hastily convene a press conference by proxy in South Africa, which he could have done here. If Mr. Banda has done nothing wrong, let him face the law enforcement agencies. In as far we are concerned there are no human rights abuses or violations; Mr. Banda is alleged to have committed criminal offences and like every citizen he needs to answer to those allegations and he shall be accorded the full due process of the law.
As for Pastor Mumba, who himself is in court for suspected abuse of public resources; we urge him as a Man of the Collar to take time and reflect on his lies and cheap deceit. Our colleagues in opposition should have the courage and honesty to face the consequences of their previous misdeeds. They accuse us of intolerance and yet the same people complaining on foreign soil are the largest beneficiaries of our political tolerance.
When Mr. Hichilema made a reckless statement over a sovereign state of Sudan and alleged that the ruling PF was recruiting militias in that country, he was given an opportunity to retract his statement, which he rudely turned down. Today, the matter is in court and according to the documents filed in the Lusaka High Court Mr. Hichilema is arguing that he is entitled to alarm the nation since it’s a democracy; there is freedom of expression.
Let them know that there is nothing democratic about intentions to sow despondency and anarchy in a country. In fact, today’s act on foreign soil by these disgruntled opposition leaders alone is a serious indictment on their preparedness and eligibility to lead this country. It’s very clear that they are not ready for the task they so much long for. Who takes pride in discrediting a country they aspire to lead? It’s totally wrong; unAfrican and falls short of the elementary dictates of patriotism and focussed leadership.
Hon. Kennedy Sakeni MP
MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON
12th February, 2013