Rupiah Banda Cautions Sata Against Turning into a Dictator

Immediate past president Rupiah Banda says his successor Michael Sata is administering the country like a dictator who was not answerable to anyone but himself.

Featuring on Crossfire Blog Radio, an online radio, Banda advised President Sata on Wednesday night to be a lot more open with the manner he was administering the country.

Banda, who lost the presidency three years after taking over from the late Levy Mwanawasa, said it was surprising that President Sata had never availed himself to answer questions even from journalists.

“I was a more open President than what you have now. Everything is dictated to the country, I had meetings with journalists, they asked questions which were personal,” he said. “There has never been a press conference [by President Sata].”

Banda said the inhuman treatment of a Catholic preist Father Viateur Banyangandora of Lundazi is one such example that Zambians had put into office an intolerant leader who was turning into a dictator.

He said during his administration, the Catholic Church and its priests mounted a spirited campaign to criticize him but never at any given time did they face the humiliation and victimisation the clergy were now subjected to by President Sata and his officers.

“A Catholic priest from Lundazi who criticized [the PF] was deported for calling for fair agro prices.I am sure you would not like to be here [in Zambia] at this time considering the amount of harassment,” Banda said.

He experienced disappointment that when President Sata admonished President George Bush publicly calling him an “imperialist” prompting an apology on behalf of Zambians from the fourth Republican President’s office, the best response to get was a “school-boy lecture”.

President Banda said leaders must be tolerant and accommodate divergent views unlike the prevailing case.

“As leaders, we must be tolerant. I talked about Bush, I was treated like a school-boy. Don’t you speak? I never stopped him [President Sata] from speaking [when he was in the opposition] even when he said things that were untruthful about me,” he said.

Banda said he was proud to have left office honourably, a move that has won him international acclaim as a true measure of democratic leadership in Africa and world over.

He now serves on the Jimmy Carter Foundation as a peace envoy and would soon lead a delegation to monitor elections in Sierra Leone.

Banda urged Sata to be ready to leave State House when his time comes.

“Leaving State House should not be the end of life. I am glad that I had the courage to leave. I hope Mr Sata will also learn from me. If time comes he must go peacefully, if he does not, he wil create problems in the country,” he said.

Banda said the decision by President Sata to take over the Road Development Agency (RDA) and operate it from State House was wrong.

“There is no way the whole President can handle an organisation like RDA. To say he is going to run it, am sure he will regret it,” he warned.

President Banda reminded the PF to appreciate and give credit to the MMD for such projects as the Formula One Road construction project and the Eurobond.

He said the Formula One Road project had now been turned into the Link 8000 Project to show a difference.

Banda applauded his former Finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokwatane for being instrumental to preparing papers that resulted into the US $750 million Eurobond the PF is singing about as their achievement.

PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba, who is also justice minister, recently claimed there was no good programme his party inherited from the MMD.

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