Following yesterday’s announcement by President Michael Sata that Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba would be appointed as MP and Minister of Justice, lawyer Robert Amsterdam has fired back with a statement arguing that Zambia has “discredited” its legal system by appointing a “divisive” figure in such a position.
Amsterdam, who represents former President Rupiah Banda and his son Henry Banda, indicated that the appointment of Kabimba is a sign that the PF government will continue to use the legal system to attack the opposition.
“There could be no greater definition of the Patriotic Front government’s disregard for judicial independence than the appointment of a political hit man as Justice Minister,” Amsterdam said in the statement, which was delivered to Zambia Reports by email early this morning. “Given the extraordinarily divisive and prejudicial statements made by Mr. Kabimba, this appointment should be seen as a clear indication that the Sata administration intends to pressure the legal system to persecute its opponents.”
Amsterdam’s statement indicated that he is actively reaching out to international organizations to “raise awareness of the PF government’s abuses of power.” On April 25th, 2012, Mr. Amsterdam filed a letter with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, among others, citing numerous threats and defamatory statements made by Mr. Kabimba against him and his clients.
The statement also cited a July 23rd interview with The Post Newspaper in which Kabimba said that former President Rupiah Banda has “tribalism running in his blood,” although the story in question was “based on an anonymous source.”
“This is how President Sata’s defamation machine works,” said Amsterdam. “With the collusion of loyal and indebted friends in the media like Post editor Fred M’membe, this government pumps out fake news to deceive the public, and then responds to their own propaganda with dangerously misguided policies.”