Wed, 05 Sep 2012 10:24:58 +0000
The recent appointment of a Patriotic Front party secretary general Wynter Kabimba as the new Minister of Justice demonstrates a clear disregard for principles of rules of law, says international lawyer Robert Amsterdam.
Mr Amsterdam said there could be no greater definition of the Patriotic Front government’s disregard for judicial independence than the appointment of a political hit man as Justice Minister.
“Given the extraordinarily divisive and prejudicial statements made by Mr. Kabimba, this appointment should be seen as a clear indication that the Sata administration intends to pressure the legal system to persecute its opponents.”
Mr Amsterdam said Mr Kabimba’s appointment comes amid an intensifying crackdown against members of the opposition, including Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND who was violently arrested last month and later charged with a trumped up accusations which lawyers say may violate his right to free speech.
Mr Amsterdam who represents the former President Rupiah Banda and his son, Henry Banda, has also appealed to the international organizations to raise awareness of the PF government’s abuses of power.
The international lawyer on April 25th, 2012 filed a letter with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, among others, citing numerous threats and defamatory statements made by Mr. Kabimba against him and his clients.
He said “Mr Kabimba also controversially declared in July 23rd interview with The Post Newspaper that former President Rupiah Banda has “tribalism running in his blood,” in reference to a discredited false news story strictly based on an anonymous source”.
“This is how President Sata’s defamation machine works,” said Amsterdam.
“With the collusion of loyal and indebted friends in the media like Post editor Fred M’membe, this government pumps out fake news to deceive the public, and then responds to their own propaganda with dangerously misguided policies.”
He cautioned foreign investors and international aid donors to be wary of the potential instability of a government that had shuffled its cabinet no fewer than five times in less than one year.
“But the appointment of an ideologue like Kabimba should erase any lingering doubts. The PF’s legal position is completely discredited,” he said.