16 Sept 2010

Zambian First Lady Dragged to Court

Zambian First Lady has been dragged to court for “unconstitutionally” using public resources to campaign for President Rupiah Banda's re-election bid in the 2011 General Election.

According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, the plaintiffs - Evelyn Kangwa and Marjorie Nakaponda - contended that Ms Thandiwe Banda has been using public funds, helicopters and vehicles to tour the country when in fact she was not entitled to the same in the constitution.

They stated that in August 2010 alone, the president's wife visited seven districts in Northern and Luapula provinces using two Zambia Air Force (ZAF) helicopters.

In the said districts, the duo said that Ms Banda visited traditional rulers and women clubs, and gave out money without disclosing the source of the same.

Ms Nakaponda and Ms Kangwa added that during Ms Banda’s visit to Chiengi District, she urged the residents to vote for Mr Banda in the 2011 presidential elections.
Source of money

They added that during the First Lady's visit to Mpulungu and Isoka districts, she was involved in the distribution of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) hammer mills and bicycles that were all transported in government vehicles.

The matter will come up before Lusaka High Court judge Phillip Musonda on September 24, 2010.

Zambia’s main opposition leader Michael Sata wrote to President Banda demanding to know the source of the money his wife was “generously giving out” to various women’s clubs countrywide, including Mpulungu constituency, which is due to hold parliamentary by-elections next month.
In addition, a local lobby group, the Anti Voter Apathy Project (AVAP), said Ms Banda had been distributing campaign materials bearing the portrait of President Banda.

Zambia’s ruling party spokesperson Dora Siliya defended Ms Banda, arguing that the First Lady was doing what every other previous First Lady had done in the country.

According Zambian Constitution, a First Lady has no immunity from prosecution. Further, the national budget does not provide funds for her as an individual.

News article sent by Mwl Nkuzi Mhango


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