Mazunga Mwiba ("The Citizen") reflects on the saga surrounding the MMD presidential candidate :
To say why didn’t Rupiah’s critics bring the issue in 2008 when he stood as a republican president is like putting a theory that; “since I wasn’t caught when I stole last year, so why should I face litigation today when you have suspected me of stealing”.Breaking the law with impunity without being questioned or caught does not warranty you from future prosecution when you are caught or suspected of having committed the same crime as previously. So whether or not no one questioned Rupiah’s candidature in 2008 is immaterial now as long as he has a case to answer....[but] neither is it in the hands of Rupiah to prove that his parents were Zambians because the rules of natural justice demands that he who has a cause against someone, need to prove his case with concrete evidence either beyond any reasonable doubt if it is a criminal case or on a balance of probability if it’s a civil case.
Granted this article was written before the latest PF action to try this in our courts. So some of the points raised in his article have been answered. However, the question of burden of proof still needs clarity. It seems to me the post conflates two different questions.
If the question is "did Rupiah commit perjury in 2008" then it is very clear the burden of proof lies with PF.
If the question is "is Rupiah eligible to stand in 2011" the burden of proof lies with Rupiah Banda and the ECZ. It is well known by all Zambians that Mr Banda was born in Gwande in Zimbabwe. He visited there and was happy to say so. There's also emerging incontrovertible evidence that Mr Banda's mother and father were Ndebele and Malawian respectively. The questions all well meaning Zambians need to ask are as follows :
1. What evidence is Rupiah Banda going to produce to show that he is eligible to run in these elections?
2. What evidence is the Chief Justice going to accept as the Returning Officer?
3. How are all presidential candidates demonstrating that they are eligible to run under Zambian law?
All Zambians remember the famous case of Prof Clive Chirwa. He was denied to vie for the Zambian presidency because he had lived abroad for 20 years. These and other requirements are used all the time to dissuade people from contesting. The founder of this website is about to turn 32 years old this month. Under Zambian law he will never be eligible to run (not that he has such ambitions). Why is that requirement more important than the parentage clause? [Incidentally, I would humbly submit that I know many Zambians aged below 35 who can run the country better than some of the 17 candidates who have stepped forward - but that is another topic - we have touched on this before - see the article : Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, Part IV].
Many of our laws are quite foolish, but these are the laws we have. The questions they raise are therefore very important questions. These are also not partisan issues. They go to the very heart of our institutions. Regardless of the motivations by the PF, the issues raised are important and needs to be dealt with in a transparent matter. We also need to be clear on the burden of proof.