Diocese of Ndola Treasurer-General Fr. Augustine Mwewa has observed that
President Rupiah Banda had a big influence in the outcome of former
president Frederick Chiluba's corruption case.
Chiluba's acquittal and President Banda's statement on the matter, Fr. Mwewa
charged that President Banda was insulting Zambians by thanking them for
having accepted Chiluba's acquittal.
Fr. Mwewa, who spoke in his
individual capacity, said President Banda had a big influence in the outcome of
"Personally, I saw it coming," Fr. Mwewa said. "The moment
Chiluba entered into that relationship with Rupiah Banda and the way Rupiah
Banda related to Chiluba. Rupiah Banda is insulting us by saying that Zambians
have accepted; which Zambians have accepted? Which Zambians is he talking about?
We are not fools, we are not stupid. He had a big influence on the
Fr. Mwewa branded President Banda as a danger to Zambia's
"The longer he stays in power, the longer it will
take to turn around the country," he said. "I personally as a Zambian I
haven't accepted [Chiluba's acquittal]. I believe Chiluba stole according to the
London judgment which he didn't dispute. He was fighting its registration.
Chiluba is not innocent when his wife was convicted for having received stolen
property, they were even discussing this on SABC [South African Broadcasting
Corporation]. We are contradicting ourselves."
Fr. Mwewa said President
Banda, in Chiluba's case, acted in the same manner he did over the woes that
education minister Dora Siliya faced after the tribunal found her to have
breached the Constitution. He said President Banda immediately reappointed
Siliya after High Court judge Philip Musonda cleared her of having breached the
"The President did the same over the Dora Siliya case.
Barely a few hours after judgment was passed, he reappointed her," Fr. Mwewa
said. "Zambians, rise to the occasion and say 'no!' The President is guilty by
saying that Zambians have accepted and that he never made a comment on the case.
He was making comments saying all sorts of things like 'he [Chiluba] was a damn
good president'. President Mwanawasa must be turning wherever he is. It's
sad for this country."
Fr. Mwewa complained that Zambia's systems had
collapsed and that even the Judiciary seemed to have failed
"If a person loses that sense of shame then the conscious
is dead," said Fr. Mwewa. "This is what we have seen in the current crop of
leaders. The current government seems to have lost it. The same government made
Zambians rise to the occasion to push for the lifting of his [Chiluba] immunity
and today they are siding with him. People, we are the government and if we
leave it to politicians we are doomed. So registering the London judgment should
be our preoccupation."
Fr. Mwewa expressed doubt that the Zambian
government under present circumstances would continue pursuing the registration
of the London judgment. He said the poor Zambians paid for the costs that
were associated with the case against Chiluba and that they were the ones
who had lost in the judgment.
Fr. Mwewa said the judgment had sent a
signal that Zambian prisons were only for the poor.
On Monday, Ndola High
Court Deputy Registrar Jones Chinyama acquitted
Chiluba on all counts of embezzling public funds amounting to US $500,000
but convicted former Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Aaron
Chungu and Faustine Kabwe and sentenced them to five years
On the same day in Kabwe during the 28th general conference
of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) at Mulungushi University, President
Banda said nobody could deny that Chiluba did a lot of good things for the
President Banda said he had avoided commenting on Chiluba's
cases before the judgment.
"Today is a very important day for the Zambian
community. As we are speaking now, our former president Chiluba is in
court and the verdict is
being pronounced on him. I have kept quiet at all times because I believe that
we need the Judiciary to adjudicate on these matters," President Banda said
after 13:00 hours. "Soon you will
know what the Judiciary will decide. I have however been criticised from many quarters saying because
I am silent, I am not saying anything against president Chiluba, I am therefore
condoning whatever he did. That is judging someone before justice. We know in
our country that one is presumed innocent until what? Everyone here knows that,
even the children.
"But there are grown-ups in our country who say no, he
is guilty even before he is proven guilty. That is not fair to a human being. I
have refused to be part of that, it's good I am here today so that no one can
say I influenced the verdict. Very soon you will hear what the verdict is, and
whatever the verdict is, there is a human being involved who also deserves
justice. Today it is him, tomorrow it is me. Tomorrow it is anyone of
On Tuesday, President Banda thanked and congratulated Zambians for
accepting the acquittal of Chiluba on corruption charges.
State House in Lusaka after he swore in Hildah Chibomba as Supreme Court judge,
Abyudi Shonga Jr as Solicitor General and bestowed the status of state counsel
on United Liberal Party president Sakwiba Sikota and Director of Public
Prosecution Chalwe Mchenga, President Banda said there was anxiety about what
would happen to Chiluba before the judgment.
"I want to thank the
Zambian people, your honour the Zambian people today, for having accepted the
decision of the Judiciary. I congratulate them because all of us were anxious;
we wanted to know what will happen to one of our former presidents. The Zambian
people really have to be congratulated for respecting the Judiciary, for
respecting this noble institution. Whoever thought of it, wherever he came from,
was a very wise person and that's why this should continue to thrive," President
Banda said. "In those countries where the Judiciary has been despised and
branded and replaced with things less than the Judiciary, the problems have
never ended. We are very happy here in Zambia that we have a Judiciary for which
we are very proud."
Recently in Mansa on Radio Yangeni, President
Banda said he would not treat Chiluba as a leper even if he were convicted for
corruption by the courts of law because he did a lot for the
President Banda said he had a lot of respect for Chiluba who he
described as having been a damn good president.
[Italics are ours]