Friday, December 11, 2009
By George Chellah
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
UNIVERSITY of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) president Duncan Nyirongo yesterday said the student movement will never accept the payment of US $5.9 million about K27.5 billion as compensation to Lusaka lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe.
Commenting on Dr Chongwe's justification of his compensation over the shooting he suffered under the Frederick Chiluba regime in 1997 in Kabwe and his admission that President Banda played a role in helping him get the compensation, Nyirongo said UNZASU would not accept such a decision.
“As UNZASU we would never accept such a decision especially if it is being done behind the scene and the government is playing hide and seek. The government has demonstrated that there is a certain interest they have in Dr Chongwe's case,” Nyirongo said. “We would not accept such a compensation. If at all there is any compensation that is being done, it should be transparent and justified… the amount being given. And all citizens shot by state police and particularly students should be compensated almost to the same tune as Dr Chongwe.”
He accused the government of applying the law selectively.
“Categorically speaking, it will be very immoral for the government to continue applying the law selectively. This government has made certain people sacred cows whilst others are being led for slaughter,” Nyirongo said. “It's not the first time we are seeing such impartiality. Education minister Dora Siliya disobeyed the Attorney General and she was not dismissed. Former Task Force on Corruption chairman Max Nkole went ahead and appealed against former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal but he was instantly fired. We feel that that trend should not continue.”
He called upon President Banda to rise above personal friendships and look at the nation.
“Where are we taking the nation? He is the person Zambians entrusted with that authority. It would be so much immoral for the government to single out certain individuals and compensate them for the brutality exhibited by police,” he said.
Nyirongo also complained about the double standards by the police as far as issuing permits for demonstrations were concerned.
He said the police recently denied a permit to the opposition political parties but the MMD and government officials were allowed to go to Luapula Province and celebrate Chiluba's acquittal.
“We feel that the President can do himself justice by ensuring that the law is applied to every citizen equally. We are still aggrieved as UNZASU, we wrote to the President giving him a scenario by way of giving a video depicting a scenario that took place at the Copperbelt University (CBU) where a student was shot,” said Nyirongo. “He simply said he has taken note of the concern. The President has been so casual on police brutality on students.”
Recently, Dr Chongwe justified his compensation claim, saying he was happy that the government would implement the decision and that President Banda played a part in the matter.
This week, The Post exposed President Banda's instruction that Dr Chongwe be paid US $5.9 million as compensation for the injuries he suffered during the 1997 police shooting in Kabwe.