Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chongwe’s compensation claim is excessive – Sondashi

Chongwe’s compensation claim is excessive – Sondashi
By George Chellah
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

LUSAKA lawyer Dr Ludwig Sondashi yesterday dismissed Dr Rodger Chongwe's US $6.7 million compensation claim for the 1997 Kabwe shooting incident as excessive.

In an interview, Dr Sondashi - who is also Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) president - said nobody was disputing that Dr Chongwe was shot at and injured.

“The step Dr Chongwe took was not suitable. He should have taken that matter to a local Zambian court. Yes, I agree that he was shot at and he is entitled to damages,” Dr Sondashi said.

“But you can't give all that money to Dr Chongwe because he is not dead or he is not maimed. The shooting was there, he was shot at but he is not injured to the extent that he can't work.”

Dr Sondashi said there was need to revise Dr Chongwe's compensation claim. He said the claim must be negotiated downwards because it is excessive.
Dr Sondashi urged President Banda to follow his predecessor's position on the matter.

“The President must not be involved directly like that because whatever he touches he is making mistakes; he should leave it to the Attorney General. He should leave it to lawyers,” he said.

On Thursday, Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda petitioned President Banda to halt further considerations of Dr Chongwe's compensation. .

Recently, chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha backed the LAZ's position on the matter saying it was only correct to ensure the matter was registered in Zambia, especially that Dr Chongwe had not given reasons he took the case to UNHRC without first exhausting all the local channels.

He said the LAZ observation was right because the Zambian government should not be made to pay even for issues of Dr Chongwe's alleged self imposed exile.

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