Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Patriotic Front Must Also Indict Itself

“Those who think Kabimba is right to prosecute Banda should ask oneself how they would feel, as individuals, to stand in the former president’s shoes and stare in the face of jail based on punishment that will be inflicted, not by a general rule, but arbitrariness of the Patriotic Front finding itself to be in government and having influence over the justice system”

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Zambian Former President Rupiah Banda
The Zambian Parliament on Friday, March 15, 2013 lifted immunity for its former President Rupiah Banda for alleged corruption. Banda, who lost power to the Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata in September 2011, had his immunity stripped off by an 80 to 3 parliamentary vote so that he could be amenable to criminal prosecution. He becomes the second Zambian former president under the MMD government, after Fredrick Chiluba, to lose presidential immunity over corruption charges. 

Banda faces allegations of corrupt acts related to the funds he used to run, what the country’s ruling party PF considers the most expensive presidential election campaign in the country’s history. He also faces a Nija-Oil-Gate Scandal in which government paid US$2.5 million for 44,000 barrels of fuel to be supplied on a daily basis, but the proceeds of fuel sales allegedly went to Singapore in a Barclays Bank account belonging to his son, Henry. Another charge relates to a loan procured from a foreign company for a real estate trust, Mpundu Trust, by first lady Thandiwe Banda.  

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Monday, 11 March 2013

Nevers Mumba Nolle Prosequi, Libongani’s Embarrassment

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Embarrassed:  Libongani

The nolle-prosequi entered into by the state in the case of disorderly misconduct against opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy leader Nevers Mumba is an embarrassing blow to the Inspector General of Zambia Police, Stella Libongani. It exposes her sophism about the laws of the land and the just way they should be applied as accepted by the Zambian people based on the political system they have embraced—democracy.

Libongani must have known when she advised her police officers to arrest Mumba that there is no any case of disorderly misconduct for a politician to hold a political party meeting and travel with his members to go and meet chief Nkana. Mumba was purely acting within his political rights as a leader of an opposition political party. His actions (assembly and movements for political activity) are not imagined principles, but the customs of democracy that Zambians organised and enshrined into the country’s constitution.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Opposition Must Change By-election Campaign Message

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Sixteen months from September 2011 general elections, Zambia has held six by-elections induced by government, with the first vacancy coming barely days from the election after an opposition MMD MP resigned to get a job in the Foreign Service. Another shocking one was a case of an Independent MP from Msanzala constituency; the MP was already serving as deputy minister in the Patriotic Front government, but chose to resign his own parliamentary seat only to re-contest the by-election on the ruling party.

This is not good for the country, but with the results of the by-elections held so far going in favour of the PF, we are not seeing President Sata’s appetite to continue poaching opposition MPs to join PF being satiated. Two are already on cue following UPND expelling two of its MPs who accepted deputy ministerial positions in the PF against the wish of the opposition party.

The real problem is the huge cost at which the country is holding unnecessary polls at the expense of social services. This by-election run can only be stopped, as Laura Miti puts it: ‘when the voters say enough!’

Quite true, but another concern is how to make the discourse of campaigns in these by-elections make meaning for electorates to make informed choices and say enough!