An interesting opinion column was recently published on the Zambian Watchdog website, reproduced in full below:
We are impressed with South Africa’s stance on Henry Banda.
And yes, South Africa is in a better position to understand what persecution at the hands of a regime in power is.
That South Africa will not handover Henry Banda in the absence of proper charges is a principled stand.
High Commissioner Moses Chikane has put it blankly that South Africa will only handover Banda to Zambia if proper channels are followed.
And we can say that he is referring to proper South African channels.
This is very good. In a continent and region where leaders band together to prosecute people opposed to their way of doing things, it a breath of fresh air that there is some hope.
The PF government should take this as an indictment by their neighbour that they are not doing things correctly.
Envoy Chikane has been in Zambia from the time the PF group took over power. He has, like everybody else, seen the declining rule of law that has engulfed our once democratic country.
What we are witnessing in Zambia is end of civil rights. We are entering a period of repression and dictatorship where only PF cadres will be allowed to air their views. We shall need international support in this period.
Now they are even joining communism. We all know how evil communism is. We can’t afford to be ruled by communists in this age. This is the age of human rights and individual freedoms.
It is therefore appropriate that neighbouring countries like South Africa take keen interest in what is happening in Zambia. But they should not just take keen interest. They should do what they have just done: protect victims.
It will be wrong for the international community to handover people wanted by repressive regimes like the one which is daily being built in Zambia.
Truly there are cases where criminals try to escape punishment for their deeds in their home country. These should be looked at differently. Political matters like the one Henry Banda is at the centre of should be dealt politically. And that is why we are happy with the South African government for demanding proper channels to be followed.
It’s a pity that International Police Organisation which is headquartered in a civilised country France can allow its facilities to be used by dictators.
If the Zambia police are really convinced that Henry Banda committed crimes and they just want to question him, why can’t they go to his house in South Africa?
With the bounty of money the PF government is throwing around to silence opposing views, surely then afford to put a squad of policemen on a plane to Johannesburg.
And we are sure Banda will cooperate because he will know he is safe.
We are not in position to say whether Henry Banda committed any offence or not, but there can never be justice in Zambia for anyone who does not seem to agree with PF policies.
This is where we say it is wrong for the International community to start handing over people who are fleeing persecution in Zambia.
We urge South Africa to go a step further and ignore any request from Interpol to handover people wanted for political reasons in Zambia.
The law or legitimacy of office should not be used as instruments of revenge or repression.