Netizens have been dissecting the speech by Zambia’s outgoing President Rupiah Banda to find out whether he implicated himself in the plunder of national resources.
Banda, whose MMD party ran a very elaborate and obviously expensive campaign compared to that by new President Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front, said in his farewell speech:
REMEMBER THAT THE NEXT ELECTION WILL JUDGE YOU ALSO. TREAT THOSE WHO YOU HAVE VANQUISHED WITH THE RESPECT AND HUMILITY THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT IN YOUR OWN HOUR OF DEFEAT. [...] IT IS NOT FOR US TO DENY THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE. WE NEVER RIGGED, WE NEVER CHEATED, WE NEVER KNOWINGLY ABUSED STATE FUNDS. WE SIMPLY DID WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS BEST FOR ZAMBIA. I HOPE THE NEXT GOVERNMENT WILL ACT LIKEWISE IN YEARS TO COME.
Banda’s statement is a reflection of the treatment Zambia’s second President Frederick Chiluba received after he had his immunity removed for alleged plunder of the nation’s resources, grand theft and corruption involving millions of dollars.
Netizens are asking if the outgoing president should be investigated and prosecuted if he is found to have abused national resources.
Writing on the Zambian Peoples Pact Facebook page, Gongs Jhala asked:
Do you think RB and his sons will face criminal prosecution? I found it interesting when he said they did not “knowingly abuse public resources” [does] that mean they abused public resources but did not know they were doing so?
Commenting under the same thread, VinStell Chanda wrote:
Ths new baby gvnt have got a mountain of work to do coz all institutions were corrupt,the OP,the interlligence, ACC,the judiciary, just the entire system was wrotten.Therefor,to bring Banda and sons to book,the PF gvmnt needs to have a new system in place wth some new faces of men and women of intergrity.I heard RB vry vry well in hs last speech were he even dropd some tears,it indicates tht he missmanaged the public funds and if he so did,he shud be brot to book,in fact thy shud strip off his immunity so that investigation can be done wthout restrictions.Its not vegence,bt justice coz RB entertained Dora Siliyas breach of the constitution of Zambia and alot of crimes have been committd in hs shortest term in the offce so RB is on hot seat, that l can asure you.Very soon will start watchng thm on tv with manzi water coming from high court due to abuse of power thereby breachng the constitution and abuse of public funds.Even George Kunda on colosal somes of kwachas on NCC,we are in for another vry interresting movie gents,just seat back and enjoy the ryde.lol
A post by Mannfred Ngweza on the same thread reinforces the need for an investigation against Banda:
Kasabo Seth Rozell Kalussa these crooks should be locked away if found wanting. This will deter future presidents and governments from doing the same. You cant talk about George W. Bush becoz thats a totally different topic. Jedidiah Manengu is right we might as well let all the thieves and rapists go. The problem in this country is that stealing has become normal coz nothing happens if u r caught.
Kasabo Seth Rozell Kalussa has a different view:
An Ex-President is an Institution, if drag him to court, you are also dragging the nation through the mud and thus the name shall tarnished. What will the rest of the world think of Zambia if President # 4 is also bundled up and makes constant appearances at Chikwa courts. The office of the President should be given the respect it deserves, if we attempt to score points with the highest office in the land, we might just end up being the laughing stock of the world. It is even for this reason that Ex-Presidents of Zambia hardly get a mention at international peace efforts, we have treated our Presidents with distain. Even the outside world will go with the flow. If we have to prosecute another ex-President lets us think twice.
On another thread Peter Vaughan Kaisa wrote:
LET NT BWEZANI THINK THAT CRYING WL MAKE SATA FEEL PITY 4 HIM. HE WL STIL BE DEALT WITH AND MADE 2 BRING BACK WAT HE STOLE FRM THE ZAMBIAN PIPO!
A response by Kasonde Brian under the same thread reads:
We need our money back. Whether he cries blood maufa yeve tiya funa [we still need our money]. Lets pray for him to be health so that he can stand trials.
One netizen, Unza Open, asks if Banda’s statement was justification for removal of the abuse of office clause in the Anti-Corruption Act:
Was this the justification for the removal of ‘Abuse of of Office’ clause? “We never knowing abused state funds but we simply did what we thought was best for Zambia.” RB. I think, a fast track court needs to be instituted to deal firmly with corruption cases.
Ston Kapotwe had this to say:
I was thnkn bout that statement too,i thnk we shud nt treat him wit kid gloves just coz he cried. Uluse lwa lile inkwale [an eagle got consumed by mercy].