Friday, March 20, 2009

It’s unethical for Rupiah to interact with disgraced Chiluba – Chongwe

It’s unethical for Rupiah to interact with disgraced Chiluba – Chongwe
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, March 20, 2009 3:36:26 PM

LUSAKA lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe yesterday charged that it is unethical for President Rupiah Banda to be interacting publicly with a disgraced leader like Chiluba who is crowded with criminal cases.

In an interview, Dr Chongwe said the recent interaction between President Banda and former president Frederick Chiluba raised a lot of questions in peoples minds especially that the former president was facing corruption allegations. He said it was inappropriate for President Banda to be interacting with Chiluba before the corruption cases he was facing were be disposed off.

“It’s very difficult for right-thinking people in Zambia for Mr Chiluba who is appearing before the court to be appearing with the President and being paraded by senior army officers. It puts senior officers in an embarrassment because Mr Chiluba, although not convicted, is a disgraced leader. He is facing charges of stealing,” Dr Chongwe said. “It is unethical domestically and internationally for a head of state to interact with a former head of state who is under the crowd of criminal cases and whose case is being handled by a competent court of law. It's not because it is President Banda. Even if it was another President, my viewpoint would not have changed.”

Dr Chongwe said any President wanting to reconcile with Chiluba should first come to terms with the Zambian people who have sued Chiluba and whose rights he grossly abused.

“It raises a lot of questions in the minds of many people. What he should not forget is that there are many people in Zambia today who have relatives either still living or dead whose human rights were grossly violated by Mr. Chiluba and the courts of law in some cases have so held,” said Dr Chongwe. “So any head of state who wants to come to terms with Mr Chiluba must first of all come to terms with the victims of Mr Chiluba.”

On information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha's statement that God will answer Chiluba's prayers, Dr Chongwe said there was a perception in some religious organisations - particularly the born again churches - that when someone was president then they were put there by God and therefore beyond the jurisdiction of man.

However, Dr Chongwe said talks about pardoning Chiluba could not arise now because he had not been convicted by the courts of law.

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