By JOHN SAKALA (Personal Tribute)
I was at the Chingola Magistrate court covering the usual court stories for Times of Zambia in 2010 and Wilson Banda of Wilson and Cornhill Attorneys was equally before the same court representing his clients.
And the case of an orphaned juvenile Clifford Simukoko, charged with trafficking marijuana came up for hearing.
Clifford was arrested and later detained by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
The boy lived with his aged grandmother who placed him in-charge of the mini soccer to collect the meagre revenue which sustained the family.
Sadly, the gang that used to patronise the place was involved in abusing marijuana and during the DEC raid, the rest bolted while Clifford was arrested and placed in police cells.
Sensing how traumatized the grandmother was and after realising that drug trafficking was non bailable, Mr Banda offered to litigate for the boy on probono basis.
He asked for the details of the case and took up the matter.
This rare virtue caught my attention and all my journalistic interests zoomed on him until he successfully made sure the case was disposed using his authority as the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) Human Rights Copperbelt Convernor.
His argument was that DEC did not find the juvenile with drugs.
Later, Mr Banda told me that his aim was to ensure that justice prevails even to the underprivileged.
Clifford was not the only one to benefit from such a gesture.
Josephine Mutanuka, former Armcor security limited employee was sexually harassed at her place of work, demoted for refusing to succumb to rendering sexual favours and her employment was terminated.
Ms Mutanuka was represented for free by Mr Banda resulting in the court ruling going in her favour and all her dues were paid in full.
Another beneficiary of Mr Banda’s pro bono services was a Kitwe based Business Executive Joyce Mbewe.
Though a family friend, Ms Mbewe would consult Mr Banda whenever she needed legal advice.
Zanaco bank had followed her over the loan amount that had cleared a long time ago.
The Bank went back to her saying she was still owing the bank and threatened to get her property via bailiffs.
Mr Banda offered his services to help her freely and the case has since been closed.
And Chongo Banda was arrested by police for petty theft.
Mr Banda called the parties involved to discuss the amount involved and LAZ-HRC paid the amount.
The girl was set free, wrote her exam and passed her grade seven examination with a free mind.
I elaborated Mr Banda’s other activities under the LAZ-HRC in the feature story which was published in the Times of Zambia in that year.
From then on wards this writer and Mr Banda were on the same side of the coin.
When I did the protesting story at Zalawi while they were still in the industrial area, Zalawi management got furious.
It was Mr Banda who pacified the tension and that’s how this writer came to meet the Shield brothers.
When time came to begin The Independent Observer project, he was the legal brain behind the project and would advise on several controversial editorials before they were published.
Sometimes due to his busy schedule editorials would pend for at least two days but he would go through and advise which technicalities should be knocked out.
And here we are, writing and remembering the beautiful soul full of support, guidance, encouragement and the man who litigated for many on pro bono.