13 February 2013

Zambia: Female Lawmaker Opposes Lifting Rupiah Banda's Immunity

Photo: Nation
Zambia President Rupiah Banda inspects a guard of honour during the swearing-in ceremony in Lusaka.

A female lawmaker from Eastern province, Victoria Kalima, is opposing attempts launched by the Patriotic Front to lift fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda's immunity saying saying this will not help the ruling party solve its problems and challenges.

PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba is urging parliamentarians to consider lifting the immunity of Banda so that he can face charges of alleged abuse during his leadership.

Kabimba and the PF's motion to lift President Banda's immunity will require an overwhelming two-thirds parliamentary vote to succeed.

But Kalima, the Kasenengwa MP, said the process of lifting Banda's immunity in parliament will be a challenge for the PF government.

"This government must learn from what happened on the late president Chiluba's removal of immunity. Did it get any results? No! That was a waste of money and resources," she said.

Kalima urged the government to concentrate on other pressing issues such as the high poverty levels, mealie meal shortages, rising essential food prices and many other important matters.

She said there were a number of ruling leaders like defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba commonly referred to as GBM, his justice counterpart Kabimba and Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito who she alleged were facing corruption charges yet people were not calling for their resignation.

Mwamba is linked to government tenders and is currently under investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission over Zesco poles while Kabimba is alleged to have received kick-backs from Trafigura in an oil deal with Nchito found wanting by Zambian courts for defrauding tax payers in excess of K14 billion when he was Zambian Airways chief executive.

Kalima accused the PF government of setting a bad precedence of lifting the immunity of former president's each time there was a new government.

She said she would not support the removal of immunity of the former Head of State. Kalima becomes the first lawmaker to publicly oppose attempts by the PF, widely viewed as politically motivated, to propose the lifting of president Banda's immunity to subject him to prosecution.

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