WHEN he bowed out of power in September 2011, he humbly accepted that he had lost elections and that he could have made some mistakes while he was in power.
This was former republican President Rupiah Banda, who broke down when he conceded defeat after the September 2011 elections on handing over power to the incumbent President Sata.
When the government joint investigative team asked Mr Banda to answer questions regarding accusations of abuse of authority and suspected corruption, he defied the calls to answer any charges.
His lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Robert Amsterdam and others probably wrongly advised him to stay away from being questioned on allegations of abuse of authority of office.
We are therefore taken aback by Mr Banda’s claim that he is being persecuted when he is merely being asked to answer questions regarding allegations that he might have committed offences during his three-year rule.
The police have not charged Mr Banda with any crime but rather investigators are just probing him over some matters.
The government joint investigative team has interviewed the former president under warn and caution and the investigations are expected to continue.
Mr Banda should be patient and not allow emotions to get the better of him because he has just been answering questions.
His other lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, has been throwing tantrums at Zambians instead of allowing the investigations to go on so that if Mr Banda is innocent, the government joint investigative team can clear him.
Some political leaders such as MMD president Nevers Mumba and United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema have been crying foul over the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity.
The former president should avoid playing to the gallery by claiming that his trial will be a long legal battle because he has not even been taken to the police.
We do not agree with Mr Sikota’s claims that the interrogation will be a waste of time because members of the public have been calling for a probe into Mr Banda’s alleged criminal activities and this probe gives him an opportunity to clear his name.
The main opposition parties know very well that a precedent was already set when former president Frederick Chiluba’s immunity was lifted to pave way for investigations.
While Mr Banda is urging his supporters to brace for a long judicial process, the state wants to see a speedy trial of the former president.
On Monday, Mr Banda told his supporters to brace for a long drawn-out court process but the government has dismissed this and if he is to be prosecuted, the authorities would rather go for a speedy trial.
We urge Mr Banda’s sympathisers to respect the rule of law and not resort to hooliganism as the investigations continue.