FORMER President Rupiah Banda says he is shocked
that senior government officials are blocking him from traveling outside the
country saying he is a ' flight risk', as reported by the Post newspaper on
Banda, who is currently appearing in court on two separate charges of abuse of
authority of office over a Nigerian oil deal and concealment of light trucks
belonging to the government, has been blocked from traveling outside the
country on two occasions.
Last month, the government blocked Banda from traveling to attend an
inauguration ceremony of Kenya's new President Uhuru Kenyatta while last week
he was blocked from traveling to Ethiopia or the 21st African Union Summit and
50th anniversary celebrations.
Banda, who has been invited to South Africa where he has been invited to attend
the 2013 African Presidential Roundtable by the Boston University African
Presidential Center starting June 5 to 8, said he was surprised that Minister
of Home Affairs Edgar Lungu was requesting for 'flight risk assessment' of him.
Banda noted that he was surprised that the minister, who is currently the
acting Zambian President, was saying he should know where to apply seeking
permission to leave the country when the invitation for all travels outside the
country come through the government.
"I was actually very surprised that honorable Lungu said I should apply to
him. I received the invitation through government and government are the ones
who told me that I should travel on Friday. I told them I had no passport and
they said they would sort it out, in between a problem emerged," Banda was
quoted as saying by the paper.
Banda said he knows very well how the government works compared to the home
affairs minister as he served in various high positions such as vice-president
and president for a long time.
Banda has been blocked from traveling for international assignments by the government
even after courts have ruled that he is free to travel. He has since challenged
the current impasse on his intended travel to South Africa in court.
The Zambian minister claimed there was evidence that the former leader might
not return once he is left to his own devices and that there could be
possibility of interfering with witnesses while abroad.
Banda ruled Zambia from August 2008 to September 2011. Before that he was the
country's vice-president. In March this year, the Zambian Parliament removed
his immunity so that he could face alleged corrupt charges he committed while