In 2012 Amsterdam & Partners LLP was retained by the family of the former President of Zambia Rupiah Banda to advise on a series of politically motivated attacks. The incumbent President Banda had just narrowly lost the election in 2011 to the opposition party, and chose to step down instead of contesting the disputed votes, setting an important precedent for sitting African presidents.
Within 48 hours of the election, Mr. Banda’s son, Henry Banda, who had served prominently in the campaign, was alerted that he had been put on a “hit list” and faced imminent arrest on false charges. For the next several months, Henry Banda was the subject of a viciously intense black media campaign aimed at smearing his reputation with nonsensical corruption allegations. At the height of the campaign, INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for his arrest.
In response, Amsterdam & Partners LLP developed and executed a comprehensive communications and legal strategy using well placed assets on the ground in Lusaka as well as at the highest levels in Johannesburg, London, Strasbourg, and Washington DC. With major online and traditional media initiatives backed by legal filings, we were successful in publicly demonstrating the political motivations driving these false accusations, proving that the State had absolutely no case and no evidence, and were successful even in persuading INTERPOL to drop the Red Notice and remove Henry Banda from their database.
Former President Banda faced an altogether more challenging persecution by the new government. With a majority in parliament, the ruling party voted to lift his immunity despite a standing court order, and later file two trumped up charges against the former president. Working closely with local counsel, Amsterdam & Partners LLP was able to craft a legal and public advocacy strategy to defeat the state’s case and eventually successfully reinstate Former President Banda’s status, resulting in an acquittal of all charges and restoration of his presidential immunity.