25 March 2013

Zambia: Banda's Lawyer Denounces 'Politically Motivated' Arrest

Photo: Boston University
Zambian former president Rupiah Banda.

Following today's arrest of former President Rupiah Banda by the Patriotic Front government, his international lawyer Robert Amsterdam denounced the move as a "politically motivated" ploy to eliminate political competition in the wake of President Michael Sata's "enfeebled" condition.

"Given this government's exceedingly poor record on anti-corruption issues among sitting ministers, the international community shall not take such accusations at face value," Mr. Amsterdam said in a statement issued to media today. "We cannot presume any sort of regularity to these proceedings when the ruling party has repeatedly violated the law in their attack against the democratic opposition."

Mr. Amsterdam also indicated that the arrest and charge against Mr. Banda was a response to a human rights report filed by the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) before the Commonwealth one week before the State began to press for removal of immunity.

The statement from the lawyer also denounced the conduct of Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba, who also serves as secretary general to the ruling party and is the presumptive successor to the incumbent president.

"Kabimba believes that instrumentalising the police and courts with false accusations against his opponents will give him an advantage in his struggle to take over from the enfeebled President Sata," said Amsterdam. "The plan is to systematically eliminate anyone who stands in the way of the PF's determination to return Zambia to a one-party state, and the international community should be very concerned about the unlawful abuses taking place."

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