20 February 2013

Zambia: LAZ Oppose Premature Calls On Rupiah's Immunity

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

The Law Association of Zambia has opposed calls demanding the lifting of fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda's immunity so he could face prosecution describing the move as premature.

Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, who is also ruling Patriotic Front general secretary, recently announced that Members of Parliament would have to decide the removal of Banda's immunity so that he faces prosecution for unspecified charges.

Kabimba made the comments through the pro PF private newspaper - The Post - a few days after president Banda turned down summons to appear before the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

President Banda's lawyers described the summons unconstitutional saying it was part of a systematic trial by headline campaign aimed at damaging the reputation of the for Head of State and that of his family.

LAZ president James Banda said the body agrees with the position that a well-grounded case should be established against the former Head of State before it can be presented to parliament.

The representative for lawyers said in a statement this afternoon that former president Banda enjoys all his constitutional rights and his recent refusal to appear before ACC should not be viewed as a guilty act.

Some civil society organisations have also opposed the removal of former president Rupiah Banda's immunity without tangible evidence.

The Non Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee (NGOCC), Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) and the Southern Centre for Constructive Resolution of Dispute (SACCORD) have argued that Parliament should be satisfied that there is a strong case warranting the removal of former president Banda's immunity before commencing any action.

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