, LUSAKA, Feb 14 – Zambian President Michael Sata said on Thursday that his predecessor Rupiah Banda was in South Africa to seek asylum.
Sata told reporters in Lusaka that Banda is avoiding answering charges of “crimes” committed while he was in office, without giving details.
“You don’t know why Rupiah Banda went to South Africa. (It is) because he is looking for asylum,” he said. “But he doesn’t know that we can go to South Africa and extradite him, and come and remove his immunity here.”
Banda last week refused to answer questions from a team of government anti-graft investigators. He enjoys immunity for any crimes committed while he was in office.
He handed over power to Sata after losing elections in 2011, in what was hailed as an example of a smooth multi-party transition in southern Africa.
Sata’s government has since arrested a number of opponents, raising fears the country is sliding toward authoritarianism.