Banda Will Contest Removal of Immunity

Rupiah BandaAccording to a new statement released by the legal team of the former President Rupiah Banda, the recent move by parliament to strip his immunity was handled unlawfully and will be contested.

Banda’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam also warns that the ruling party is “desperate,” and facing an “internal power struggle” under the fading health of President Michael Sata, which may prompt them to unlawfully imprison former President Banda and other opposition figures without formal charges.

According to the statement, the removal of immunity was improper for the following reasons:

  • The National Assembly vote failed to obtain the 2/3rds vote of total seats as required by the Constitution.
  • The immunity motion violated separation of powers, as the house attempted to usurp the duties of the judiciary by attempting to attribute guilt based on fictitious accusations without any opportunity for defense.
  • The motion was moved forward by the Speaker despite a walkout of most opposition MPs in violation of legislative protocol.
  • Former President Banda was given less than 24 hours notice to the immunity motion; instead state media were informed first.
  • Former President Banda and counsel were denied the opportunity to explain, answer, or counter any of the accusations presented in the house, despite an open application before the Lusaka High Court.
  • As head of state, President Sata failed to personally address the house with his case.
  • The PF were only able to obtain their votes through a fraudulent undermining of democracy by appointing opposition MPs as deputy ministers in order to buy their votes against their own parties.
  • The allegations presented were incoherent, incomplete, and were lacking any basis in law or even basic documentary criteria to form a charge, such as the accusations relating to campaigning financing, for which there exists no law in Zambia.

Amsterdam describes the ruling party’s measure as “a stain on Zambia’s history,” commenting, “They are afraid, they are desperate, and they are panicking. They know they are landing on the wrong side of history, and their conduct in coming days and weeks may in fact demonstrate just how corrupt and lawless they have become.”

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