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RB’s Immunity – The Heart of the Matter says Miyanda

Filed under: Latest News,Politics |
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godfrey-miyanda-zambia-reportsSEQUEL TO THE LIFTING OF FORMER PRESIDENT BANDA’S IMMUNITY: CLARIFICATION/RESPONSE BY BRIGADIER GENERAL GODFREY MIYANDA

When I raised objections to the fiasco in the National Assembly on 15th March 2013 I was not debating the merits or demerits of the allegations against former President Banda. I was commenting specifically on the Motion moved by the Minister of Justice and not politicking or personalising debate.

I have taken long to respond because I was trying to get the transcript of the motion and share it. The verbatim Motion that was moved (presented formally to the House) was couched in the following terms:

“Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to move a motion that in terms of Article 43 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia this House do resolve that.

Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda who has held but no longer holds the office of President may be charged with any criminal offence or be amenable to criminal jurisdiction of any court in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity while he held the office of president and that such proceedings would not be contrary to the interests of the State; I beg to move Mr Speaker”.

Immediately the Speaker suspended business for 15 minutes (which turned out to be nearly 2 hours) because of the unprecedented commotion in the Chamber. For ease of reference I also reproduce Article 43 (3):
“A person who has held, but no longer holds, the office of President shall not be charged with a criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity while he held office of President, unless the National Assembly has, by resolution, determined that such proceedings would not be contrary to the interests of the State.”

This is what I was debating, using my knowledge of Parliamentary affairs as a former MP/legislator for 10 years, Cabinet Minister and leader of Government business in the House as Republican Vice President.

I stated that the proceedings were predetermined because the MPs were “caucused” (hence coached) and used to rubber-stamp a decision taken elsewhere, instead of in the Chamber. But the Minister did not debate the two core ingredients, namely (1) ‘personal capacity while he held office of President’ and (2) ‘the interests of the State’. He did not establish in what capacity the former President was acting, whether in his personal or official capacity and did not provide credible evidence that the source of funds was the Government.

None of the supporters of the motion debated this ingredient; this is cardinal because when acting in his official capacity he cannot have his immunity lifted under Article 43 (3) no matter how serious the crime! Also “interests of the State” was not debated. The Mover of the motion is supposed to persuade the House based on the specific allegations cited in the Motion and not leaving matters to conjecture. Since the former President would lose his liberty if found guilty, all procedural and constitutional issues had to be observed and the whole case disclosed to the MPs to enable them debate and DETERMINE whether to agree or not agree with the Mover. I say that there was no determination in the Chamber and hence no resolution! The GJIT cannot now start to launder evidence by continued “investigation” just to leave a paper trail that they treated him well!

By the way, I attended Parliament on 15th March 2013 from about 08.55 till just about 18.30 hours and followed all the proceedings of the day. By the Minister announcing that the GJIT had completed their investigations and were ready to proceed to trial, he clearly persuaded the MPs to support the Motion but the GJIT are not ready, hence the fishing expedition!

This is my response to Messrs John Chinena and Nshilimubemba. I always welcome debate and I am ready to learn from the two if they can factually show what point they claim I missed!!!

GODFREY MIYANDA,
BRIGADIER GENERAL,
[21st March 2013]”

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