HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has petitioned President Rupiah Banda asking him to halt further considerations of Lusaka lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe’s compensation claim for the 1997 Kabwe shooting incident.
In a letter to President Banda dated December 15, 2009, Brig Gen Miyanda stated that he was glad to learn through newspaper reports that the President had stopped the payment of US $6.7 million compensation to Dr Chongwe for the time being.
“As a matter of urgency, I petition that you halt any further consideration or reconsideration of the claim by Dr Chongwe for damages against the Zambian government. At the onset I must make it absolutely clear that I do not support nor condone the taking of any life in the manner alleged by Dr Chongwe and his cohorts; my petition must not be viewed in that light,” read Brig Gen Miyanda’s letter in part.
“So as far as any alleged attempts on his life and that of any other citizens are concerned, I do not object to that complaint as long as plausible facts are provided that there was a plot in which I was allegedly involved and they have laid bare the said plot in a truthful and honest manner.”
Brig Gen Miyanda stated that he did not object to Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda being paid anything until they had shown good faith and truth and honesty in the allegations they made against him.
“I say this because as you may be aware, the Zambian government in general and myself in particular stood accused of actually plotting, engineering and executing the alleged assassination not only on these two but on other leaders and persons named by Dr Chongwe. I go so far as to say that if there was a plot to assassinate those leaders then Dr Chongwe and others must be paid even more, for a human life is priceless,” Brig Gen Miyanda stated.
“This assassination allegation is once again in the public domain and has become a high profile matter of public interest, thanks to The Post articles which government media curiously choose to sit on. I am thus also making this Chongwe saga a public issue because any matters of this nature concerning lies against me are never reported or covered in the media even when they are being heard by the courts.
“It is like there is a grand design to perpetuate the stigma against me as the alleged assassin of citizens, which I am not and have never been. I have specifically copied this letter to The Post not for any mischievous reasons but because they brought this matter to light. For this I thank them.”
Brig Gen Miyanda said Dr Chongwe was not entitled to be paid anything until his petition had been attended to satisfactorily.
“…Because I am questioning his credibility in keeping quiet about the serious criminal libel that he and Dr Kaunda put in the public domain before they later made their claim for compensation,” he stated.
Brig Gen Miyanda cited the August 27, 1997 press conference where Dr Chongwe is alleged to have linked him and former president Frederick Chiluba to the assassination attempt. He stated that Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda had made similar allegations on BBC on August 23, 1997. He said those were grave allegations against him that left him permanently exposed to danger from the families, supporters or sympathisers of Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda, whom he described as famous and important people both at home and abroad.
Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda were duty bound to tell Zambians why they have not prosecuted him whom they identified as having been personally in Kabwe supervising the “so-called assassination”.
Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Dr Chongwe had conveniently and sheepishly left out any reference to him as his alleged assassin in his statement to The Post last week.
He reiterated that Dr Kaunda and Dr Chongwe must publish the evidence they had against him as alleged in their public verbal and written publications. He also demanded that the government must compensate him.
“If the government has no money to pay me but is able to pay Dr Kaunda and Dr Chongwe, then I ask that due to their bad faith by fabricating, withholding and/or spreading false evidence against me, the government should revise the amount to be paid to them and instead set aside a percentage from that amount to be paid to me,” he stated.
Brig Gen Miyanda stated that the government must state categorically whether it had accepted vicarious liability on account of his alleged crimes.
“If government is aware that I was not in any way involved, it must make such a public statement as well and offer a measure of recompense,” Brig Gen Miyanda stated.
PUBLISHED IN THE POST OF DECEMBER 18, 2009