Tuesday, April 10, 2012
By The Post
Tue 10 Apr. 2012, 13:30 CAT
IT will not be wrong for anyone to conclude that Henry Banda did something wrong. This is because no innocent person can run into the bush to hide on mere accusations of wrongdoing, on suspicions of crime. There is no justification for Henry becoming a fugitive for fear of being arrested and prosecuted for corruption or other crimes he might have committed against the Republic of Zambia.
There are many people who have been warned and cautioned, arrested and charged for all sorts of crimes they committed during the time they were part of Rupiah Banda's regime. None of these people has complained of torture or any other inhuman treatment. None of them has been treated in a manner that can be said to be worse than that of any other Zambian who has committed or is suspected to have committed a similar crime.
Most of them have been given police bond. And where the police have denied them bond, the court has given them bail. This being the case, what is Henry scared of?
Instead of coming back home to answer the allegations against him, Henry has gone to hire very expensive and high-profile international lawyers - Robert Amsterdam of Armsterdam & Peroffof LLP. These are the same lawyers who represented Russian billionaire and politician Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkosky.
And they are the same lawyers who represented Thailand's former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, another very rich man. This seems to be the league Henry is playing in or he has joined. In three years of his father's presidency, Henry has moved from near nothing to such a rich young man. How was this possible?
Kennedy Sakeni, our home affairs minister, is right in concluding that Henry's decision to hire a high-profile and expensive lawyer gives an insight into the amount of money he accumulated when his father was president of the Republic of Zambia.
Henry and his siblings used to be warned that at the rate they were accumulating wealth, piling up money, they would be in trouble to account for it when their father left office. Although Henry had no immunity from prosecution, no one could touch him when his father was president.
He got away with anything. And moreover, his father had paralysed the Anti Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission, the police and the entire judicial process such that no one could touch anyone connected to or seen to be near Rupiah.
Henry and his siblings were small presidents in their own right. Even Rupiah's Cabinet ministers worshipped them, treated them as such. They were dealing with public affairs as if they were government officials or officers. This is why today Henry is being pursued by law enforcement agencies and he is on the run.
Henry has failed to stay in Zambia and face the law because he knows that unlike his father who has presidential immunity to protect him from prosecution, he has none. But when his father was in office, Henry thought he also had that immunity because he was then untouchable, nobody could think of arresting him for any crime.
Rupiah's sons behaved as though they were small presidents and still want to be treated as such. Of course, they didn't hold any political office but they ran the politics of the MMD and Henry played a very big role in his father's election campaign.
There is no need for Henry to continue being on the run. He must simply come back and face the temerity of his actions. He will receive fair treatment because all the magistrates, all the judges, including the Chief Justice, are people his father left.
Henry won't face a different judiciary from that which his father left. If they were just and fair under his father's reign, he should expect them to be the same now because they are the same people.
But as Kennedy has correctly observed, Henry knows what he has done. And he seems to believe what he has done is wrong and that is why he has hired high-profile and expensive lawyers who are advertising themselves as lawyers who specialise in offering legal counsel to companies and individuals facing critical challenges.
Indeed, Henry seems to be facing critical challenges and that's why he is running away, he is a fugitive. The other week, his father disclosed that Henry was a permanent resident of South Africa. Rupiah has always denied that his son is on the run.
If he is not on the run, why are they hiring such expensive lawyers? What are these lawyers going to defend since Henry has not been arrested or charged for any offence? They know that something is wrong, they have a challenge and that's why they are hiring lawyers who specialise in giving legal counsel to those facing critical challenges.
But for how long is Henry going to be on the run? Only a crook can live the life of a fugitive for a long time. An honest person who has done something wrong can't endure such a long time of being on the run and they will easily turn themselves in.
Anyway, Henry has got nothing to lose. They seem to have piled up a huge fortune outside Zambia and they can live there without any problems, without missing anything - what they have here is peanuts, their fortune is outside.
However, nothing that comes from corruption or injustice will last. Riches one gets by dishonesty soon disappear, but not before they lead one to prison. Guilty people walk a crooked path.
The more easily you get your wealth, the less good it will do you. What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like fine food, but sooner or later, it will be like a mouthful of sand.
If Henry has done something wrong, hiring expensive international lawyers will not do him any good. The best he can do is to come back and face reality. Henry shouldn't forget that every lawless act leaves an incurable wound, like one left by a double-edged sword.
The money he is enjoying in South Africa and elsewhere came from here. Let him simply come and explain how he got the money that he today has. If he has nothing, let him come and show that he has nothing.
They were all warned, together with their father, that at the rate they were goings they might end up in jail for corruption. But they wouldn't listen because they had an insatiable appetite for money, property and other wealth.
Now their time for reckoning has come. They are fugitives, looking over their shoulders wherever they go. Even their friends have run away. Those who used to worship them are today worshiping other people and not them. The little demi-gods have today become little devils.
It's useless to rely on dishonest wealth; it will do you no good on that day of disaster.