FORMER Republican president Rupiah Banda has said a new era has come for Zambia to focus on public dialogue instead of personally motivated cycles of vengeance.
Mr Banda, who was commenting on the restoration of his immunity by the High Court, said that time had come for the country to move forward into a new period of public dialogue.
“People are tired of these personally motivated cycles of vengeance of score-settling. Zambians deserve leadership without insults, honest debate instead of attacks, and, above all, unity in place of division,” Mr Banda said.
He said this in a statement issued by his administrative assistant Mikatazo Wakumelo.
Mr Banda’s immunity was lifted by Parliament in March 2013, after he lost elections to the then President Michael Sata. It was restored last week.
He said he was grateful to the Members of Parliament (MPs) who fought against the motion of lifting his immunity which was taken to Parliament by former Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba on March 15, 2013.
Mr Banda said he was grateful to all those who made it possible for the restoration of his constitutionally mandated presidential provisions in last week’s High Court decision.
He said that the decision closed the chapter on a difficult period of history characterised by falsehoods and provocation aimed at dividing Zambians.
“I also wish to extend profound gratefulness to all those who came out to support me at court and other venues. I also thank the MPs who signed as sureties for bond and bail. I thank my legal team for their tireless dedication and pursuit of justice, and my family’s unwavering support,” Mr Banda said.
He said his family and friends stood firm on what was right and what was true, saying that the result would not have been possible without their help.
Mr Banda said since his leaving office four and half years ago, Zambia had experienced dramatic changes, some positive and some tragic.
Time had come, he said, for Zambians to move into a new era of public dialogue instead of vengeance.
Last Week, the High Court restored former President Rupiah Banda’s legal immunity and has stopped his prosecution in the courts of law following an agreement between his lawyers and the State.
This was in a case in which Mr Banda was seeking judicial review of the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to strip him of his legal immunity and subject him to criminal prosecution.
According to a consent order signed by the two parties and confirmed by High Court Judge Annie Sitali, the decision of the National Assembly has been rendered null and void.
The order restores Mr Banda’s immunity and is, therefore, deemed not to have been removed and the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prosecute him for offences of corrupt practices and concealing gratification has been quashed.
It was argued that the offences were not part of the allegations tabled before the National Assembly prior to the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity from prosecution and for this decision to be quashed.
“By consent of the both parties each through their respective advocates, it is hereby adjudged that the following order be and are hereby granted: an order of certiorari to remove in this honourable court for the purposes of quashing the decision of the learned Director of Public Prosecutions…,” part of the consent order reads.
The consent order was signed following extensive discussion between the Attorney General and Mr Banda’s lawyers and this move was later communicated to Justice Sitali.
On March 15, 2013, the National Assembly resolved that Mr Banda as former President, be subjected to criminal prosecution in the courts of law for acts that he did or omitted to in his personal capacity.