Friday, August 28, 2009
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, August 28, 2009 3:10:02 PM
WOMEN for Change (WfC) executive director Emily Sikazwe has said there should be no controversy over appealing against Frederick Chiluba's acquittal by the magistrates court. And Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba has said President Rupiah Banda is not acting in the best interest of the Zambian people because he was in the forefront supporting Chiluba.
But Chiluba's spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said Chiluba's innocence had been proved through the acquittal on all the charges that were levelled against him.
Appearing on MUVI TV's Hot Issue last Tuesday, Sikazwe said former president Chiluba's acquittal would remain controversial until the due process of the law was thoroughly completed up to the Supreme Court.
She said Chiluba had repeatedly appealed against cases that were ruled against him.
"And the laws of Zambia provide that appeals will be made. And if it takes us to go to the Supreme Court, so be it. [It is] controversial because Dr Chiluba's camp is already celebrating, or already making demands, already using the Bible. Zambia was declared a Christian Nation and God says, you shall know them by their fruits," Sikazwe said. "As to whether it is God's wish to ordain a president who buys himself 120 pairs of shoes plus, plus and calls himself a Christian president, it will remain controversial. And we have to resolve this issue. And we are saying, calm down Dr Chiluba, because a lot of people have been hurt by this."
Sikazwe said Chiluba was also called a thief because of perception.
She said Chiluba was one person whose lifestyle was well known before he became president.
"We knew his lifestyle. Even if he said that people were giving him gifts, why did he take Dr Kaunda's car that Saddam Hussein gave him? Where did he take it? When he said in that private account, the Zamtrop account, there is private money, why was he putting his money in our account, in the people's account? If the money was private where did it come from? What was he giving away in turn? Was he selling our country? What was he mortgaging for private donors to give him so much money that he is claiming was in our people's account? So perception is important," Sikazwe said. "And yes we knew him before, and we knew him when he became president. We knew his dress code. It didn't include 120 pairs of shoes. When we talk about perception, our leaders must understand that we know each other, how we live, where we are coming from. That if in five years time, your lifestyle changes as if you are a billionaire, we Zambians will monitor. And from the time president Chiluba's actions were changing, we were monitoring. And yes, justice will be done. The people of Zambia one of these days will triumph."
Sikazwe said Zambians would follow the law to the letter over Chiluba.
She demanded for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appeal because justice has not been seen to be done.
"Everyone in this country understands, apart from those blaspheming that Dr Chiluba should be as at now be presumed innocent. No, we take case to the highest law in the land, which is the Supreme Court," Sikazwe said. "If for whatever misfortune, the Supreme Court says he is innocent, we will leave it at that. We also know the London judgment. No matter how Dr Chiluba trivializes it, we want it registered here. That's a lot of money."
Sikazwe said as a Christian, she took issue with those who were blaspheming that Chiluba should be left alone because he had been washed in the blood of Jesus.
She asked Chiluba to ask for forgiveness from God so that he could receive humbleness unlike the manner he was behaving now.
She also warned that the Bible was very clear about people that used God's name in vain.
Sikazwe further denied Mwamba's accusation that her lifestyle had changed for the better since she became WfC executive director.
Sikazwe said in fact she earned more in her previous parastatal job than she currently earned at WfC.
And commenting on President Banda's firing of Task Force on Corruption chairman Maxwell Nkole following his appeal against the acquittal of Chiluba and the lengthy interview he gave to MUVI TV on Monday night, Kabimba who was on the panel said President Banda was not acting in the best interest of the Zambian people but that attempts to bury justice would not yield anything.
"There is a collision between the people that Rupiah Banda purports to lead through his government and the people themselves. And I want to say this that this line that the President has taken is itself unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional, and I want to say this to the people of Zambia," Kabimba said. "There is only one point where I agree with Dr Chiluba, when he went before this Matero Church of his that 'how can my wife be found guilty while I am acquitted?' So either Regina Chiluba's judgment was wrong, or Chiluba judgment is wrong. So ultimately something is wrong somewhere and he realises that."
Kabimba wondered when Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja awakened from the slumber to realise that Nkole's contract had expired.
"To be honest with you, I am very ashamed that the announcement comes from a man that I have a great deal of respect for, Dr Joshua Kanganja, who is being used as a doormat, you know, to wreck his career in this country, like many other people's careers have been done," Kabimba said when he featured on the Hot Issue programme on MUVI TV last Tuesday night. "Since when, one would ask a question, did Dr Kanganja come out of slumber and realise that Max's contract has expired? When? Two months ago? Yesterday, when Max appeared on this programme? This is the shame that professionals are being put to."
Kabimba said President Banda had also remained quiet from the time he thanked Zambians for accepting Chiluba's acquittal.
"I personally expected President Banda to be the first one today to say 'yes, I have instructed', or the DPP should be free and act and exercise his professional judgment to appeal in this case," Kabimba said. "Since Mr Banda pronounced the fact that the people of Zambia have been very happy about Mr Chiluba's acquittal, he has gone silent. Should we really be debating the issue of an appeal? We shouldn't."
Kabimba said Chiluba's acquittal had become controversial because he was not an ordinary man and that justice must be seen to be done.
"...In fact, I may add the fourth one to that. The pronouncements that have come from the Head of State, Mr Banda, as Head of State and even prior to the acquittal, if you remember he did make a pronouncement to the effect that whether Chiluba is acquitted or convicted, I shall stand by him because he was a damn good president. And it has come to pass that Dr Chiluba is acquitted, in very controversial circumstances," Kabimba said. "You read in the media that this judgment by magistrate Chinyama should have been delivered on a Friday, it wasn't. And for no reasons given to the people of Zambia, it was moved to a Monday. Now for me as a legal practitioner, yes it does happen, but a judge or a magistrate would say, 'I'm not ready with the judgment today, but I am you know...' again people should have been sensitive that this is not an ordinary case. It's moved from Friday to Monday, and Dr Chiluba is acquitted on all counts; so all those are reasons that have brought about this controversy around this acquittal, or perceived acquittal, whatever you may call it."
Kabimba said for as long as Zambians were not convinced that justice had not been seen to be done, they would pursue Chiluba to the end.
But Mwamba said he feared the statements from Kabimba and Sikazwe that Chiluba was being called a thief because of perception.
He said the courts of law were the final arbiter for those who were being accused.
"Emily here has very strong allegations against Dr Chiluba. She says Dr Chiluba plundered national resources. Who is competent, who is an independent arbiter? You know because Dr Chiluba by our Constitution has a right to innocence. He's deemed innocent before the law. It doesn't matter how reasonable Emily Sikazwe's allegations are," Mwamba said. "It doesn't matter how convincing they are. They are just but allegations, and I wish to emphasise that. They are just but allegations. Dr Chiluba having been president of this country submitted to the law. He was charged with first 42 million dollars. He went to those courts for about a year. That case was dropped by the Task Force on Corruption."
Mwamba said Chiluba objected instructions from former Task Force on Corruption chairperson Max Nkole, who said he had directed his lawyers, MNB, to appeal against Chiluba's acquittal.
"So the objection is not to the appeal. I think the law allows for appeal. But if offences are committed in this case, there is clear breach of the Constitution, the person who is not allowed by law to appeal, believes that there should be an appeal," Mwamba said. "And a lawyer, a competent lawyer Mr Mutembo Nchito proceeds to accede to a wrong directive, actually lodges in an appeal. You know this matter is so serious. In fact we are considering that we should take this matter to LAZ because this misconduct is totally unacceptable."
Mwamba also said Zambians had perceptions against Dr Kenneth Kaunda, president Levy Mwanawasa and even President Banda but those allegations had not been tested against the three presidents in the courts of law.
"So perceptions, yes, if there is a dominant media for example The Post. And the whole country knows Emily's place at The Post. And a perception can be created at The Post," said Mwamba. "Acquittal has provided an opportunity for closure. This matter has divided our country. There has been political tension."