Removing Ex-president Banda’s Immunity is a violation of Rule of Law, lawyer Amsterdam

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Following news reports of Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party
tabling a motion before parliament requesting the removal of immunity
of former President Rupiah Banda, lawyer Robert Amsterdam has
denounced the measure as a politically motivated desecration of the
rule of law.
“By attempting to remove former President Banda’s immunity in the
absence of any evidence, case, let alone any specific allegations of
any wrongdoing, the PF government is attempting to subvert rule of law
in order to remove any and all political competitors from the scene,”
said Amsterdam.  “They are behaving exactly in the manner that we
predicted one year ago, beginning with the false accusations against
his son which of course went nowhere, while destroying Zambia’s
international reputation as a law-abiding democracy in the process.”
In response to this action, a case has been filed before the Lusaka
High Court this afternoon.  “Under normal constitutional precedent,
the issue should now be tabled and not discussed tomorrow.  Whether or
not the Patriotic Front continues this unlawful process tomorrow or
awaits the court order will speak volumes about their commitment to
rule of law,” said Amsterdam.“One cannot simply begin with the verdict
and go backwards toward the case, evidence, and accusation, you have
to do it the other way around,” said Amsterdam, “And the PF’s failure
to follow normal procedure is a sign of their political motivation:
this is not an exercise related to any real or imagined crime, but
rather a hasty political ploy set in motion by a desperate party.  But
we should all ask: why the urgency?  Why has the PF been rushing
forward ever since President Michael Sata returned from his last trip
abroad?”
“Joseph Stalin once said ‘show me the man, and I’ll show you the
crime,’ but in the case of the PF’s attack against former President
Banda, they haven’t even gotten that far,” said Amsterdam.  “President
Banda is a distinguished elder statesman who is celebrated
internationally for his contributions to the peaceful, democratic
development of Africa, and these false accusations by a discredited
and abusive government shall not stand.”
Amsterdam indicates that the calls to remove former President Banda’s
immunity only began following the submission of a report to the
Commonwealth on behalf of the opposition and civil society, filed on
January 25, 2013, requesting an investigation into rampant violations
of civil and political rights by the PF government.
Former President Banda’s legal team intends to aggressively pursue all
legal avenues to halt these false allegations and expose the unlawful
conduct of the PF before the international community.
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