Following controversial comments made by Zambian President Michael Sata today, the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) strongly condemns the Patriotic Front government for practising double standards on anti-corruption issues.
Speaking at an event today, President Sata gave direct instructions to the Anti-Corruption Commission Director General Rosewin Wandi to give preferential treatment to current government ministers under investigation for corruption, including Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba.
"President Sata's habit of personally intervening in anti-corruption matters in an effort to shield his ministers from prosecution represents a gross violation of judicial independence," said Robert Amsterdam, counsel to the CDDR. "All Zambian citizens, regardless of political affiliation, are entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process of the law, without the president giving prejudicial orders to prosecutors on what crimes do or do not exist."
President Sata's public complaint to Director General Wandi has been interpreted as a gesture of approval for Kabimba's controversial behavior when the ACC had called him in for questioning. Mr. Kabimba showed up to his interview along with several dozen threatening youth cadres, which forced the investigators to delay the interview due to the unruly mob. Although the CDDR is informed that Mr. Kabimba himself invited reporters to the scene, President Sata complained that the ACC was improperly speaking to the media.
"For President Sata to complain about trials by headline represents the most cynical of double standards, given how he and his colleague Fred M'membe of The Post have repeatedly attacked the reputations of opposition members without evidence, including former President Rupiah Banda and his son Henry Banda," said Amsterdam. "If President Sata wants to put an end to trials by headline, then he should immediately resign, as he is the biggest proponent of these smear campaigns. The hypocrisy is simply staggering."
According to an article published by the British newspaper The Guardian, Mr. Kabimba is being investigated for allegedly holding undeclared shareholdings in Midland Energy Zambia, which is accused of involvement in an allegedly corrupt oil supply deal. Both parties deny the allegations. Additionally, the Minister of Defence Geoffrey Bwayla Mwamba is the subject of a corruption investigation, yet neither Mwamba nor Kabimba have been suspended by the PF government during these investigations.