Dr Rodger Chongwe deserves compensation. And at no time did The Post ever insinuate in any way that Rodger did not deserve such compensation. Rodger has been a great friend of our newspaper over many years. And we value that friendship. Rodger has been a comrade of ours and we have endured the same harassment and suffering under Frederick Chiluba's regime. Rodger is very lucky to be among the living today because the Chiluba regime was out to kill him, eliminate him.

The Post has always supported Rodger's claim for compensation, as well as the claims of others who were tortured in all sorts of ways under Chiluba's criminal regime. What we did was merely to report that Rupiah Banda has authorised the payment to Rodger of that compensation. Others have the right to comment on it because it is a public issue and the money is not coming from Chiluba or Rupiah's pockets but from the taxes paid by our people.

Rodger has given a lengthy explanation of what transpired. And this contrasts very well with the lies of home affairs minister Lameck Mangani as reported by the state-owned and government-controlled Times of Zambia of Monday, December 7, 2009 in which he stated: "Dr Chongwe took the matter of the Kabwe shooting incident to a court in Australia where Zambia lost the case because no official from government attended any of the court sessions there. The court ordered that Dr Chongwe be paid US $2.5 million and he has been pushing for that amount since then." And Mangani is further quoted by the Times of Zambia as having refuted claims that President Banda had authorised payment of US $5.9 million to Dr Chongwe as compensation and described such information as inaccurate and not true.

According to the Times of Zambia, Mangani said Dr Chongwe's issue required legal opinion, hence the move by Mr Banda to write the Attorney General Mumba Malila seeking his opinion and guidance. And Mangani is further quoted as saying: "And even that does not mean the President authorised the payment. But even the US $2.5 million needs to be negotiated and at no time did the President authorise that the money be paid to Dr Chongwe." Mangani challenged those alleging that President Banda authorised the payment to provide evidence to that effect.

It will be interesting to contrast Rodger's lengthy explanation to the claims of Mangani. Whereas Mangani claims that Rupiah did not authorise the payment, Rodger says he did. It's very clear who is telling lies and who is telling the truth. Mangani is certainly telling lies. But why? It's not worth it for us to dwell so much on the lies of these people because they cannot live without lies, deceit, manipulation and calumny.

What is important for the nation is to focus on what caused this compensation. There is no doubt that there were serious human rights violations under the Chiluba regime. And all those whose rights were violated, whose lives were negatively affected by the illegal and criminal acts of the Chiluba regime deserve compensation. Even those who are dead, those entitled to benefits under their estates deserve to be paid that money.

Chiluba led a criminal regime. They were not only stealing money, but they were also after the lives of others and maimed people like Rodger. And Dr Kenneth Kaunda is very lucky to have survived the numerous attempts on his life under the Chiluba regime. He too deserves compensation. We also have the cases of Dean Mung'omba who was badly tortured by Chiluba's agents. We remember Chiluba boasting on television that they are now talking after a few things were done to them. The few things which were done to them was torture. It is clear that Chiluba was behind the torture of all those innocent people who were detained on trumped-up treason charges in connection with the 1997 attempted coup against him. In this connection, princess Nakatindi Wina, Dr Rajan Mahtani and many others deserve compensation.

Rogder says, "Mr Rupiah Banda may not be a great president by the likes of The Post however he has personal knowledge of and is otherwise aware of the numerous acts directed towards me, including attempted assassination that led to my exile for over five years from Zambia...during the meeting, the President also recalled some of the events that occurred in the period prior to my being shot and those leading to my exile. It is wrong for governments to try to kill people, shooting and maiming them in the process because of their political views, driving them from their homes, destroying their livelihood and hounding them in whatever way possible. They suffer, their families suffer and the country wastes a lot of money maintaining the infrastructure and human or inhuman resources these activities require."

This was the hallmark of the Chiluba regime. And this is the man Rupiah says "was a damn good president". A damn good president for stealing public funds? A damn good president for committing such violations against the lives of others?

Chiluba is the man behind all this. And this is the man who Rupiah has befriended, knowing very well what wrong things he did. On one hand, Rupiah is authorising payments of compensation to Rodger as a result of an attempt on his life that has left him with half of his hearing impaired. And on the other, he is defending the man who is behind these violations that are today costing the government and the Zambian taxpayer millions of dollars. The Zambian people have the right to question Rupiah's conduct, especially these contradictions.

Rupiah is supporting a man who ran a reckless and criminal regime that is today costing the government so much money.

The Zambian people are also right in questioning Rupiah's decisions and actions in these matters in view of his government's reluctance to register and enforce the London High Court judgment against Chiluba in which the Zambian people have been granted US $55 million. This duplicity, these contradictions need explanation.

This is what happens when a regime operates by nothing other than lies, deceit and manipulation. Its dealings with innocent and honest people like Rodger also become questionable because people have lost trust in what the members of this regime say or do. There is nothing wrong with what Rodger has done and he is legally and morally entitled to compensation. Rodger is not wrong. What is wrong is this regime of Rupiah which tells lies tirelessly and is even telling lies about the circumstances of his claim for compensation. What is wrong is this regime of Rupiah that has become friends with Chiluba, a man whose regime nearly killed Rodger.

But Rupiah will realise soon that a killer has no friends, no alliance. And we are telling him, as many others have done, that his marriage with Chiluba will not bring joy, it will bring sorrow. Rupiah shouldn't forget that in 2006, Chiluba was supporting PF and Michael Sata against the MMD and Levy Mwanawasa. On election day in 2006, Chiluba said: "We are going to vote in the good and vote out the bad." In this case, the good was the PF and Sata and the bad was the MMD and Levy. And where is Chiluba today? He is simply where his comfort is, he is with those who have saved him from going to jail. That's all that matters to Chiluba and probably would matter to any criminal, crook or thief.

There is need for the Zambian taxpayers to know why they have to pay Rodger and others these huge amounts of compensation so that they can make those who are responsible for this to account. Chiluba is responsible for these violations of human rights, for all these criminal acts against innocent people like Rodger. And there is no decent society that can allow such violations to go unpunished. And there is no decent person who can claim that a man who has done all these evil things that are costing the government so much money was a damn good president. This shows Rupiah's criteria and type of judgement.

It is not Rodger the Zambian people are against or are questioning; it is the integrity of Rupiah they are questioning. And justifiably so.

But whatever happens and no matter how long it takes, Chiluba should one day be made to account for these crimes, for these violations of human rights. Why should Chiluba's life be more special, be more important than the lives of all these other people his regime tried to kill, killed, maimed and humiliated?

Links and News to Rodger Chongwe's Compensation Claim in regards to assasination attempt.
http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f588efa7.html - UNHCR
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/undocs/821-1998.html - University of Minnesota
http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:ihrl/1699unhrc00.case.1/law-ihrl-1699unhrc00?rskey=5fSIQC&result=6&prd=OPIL - Oxford Public International Law
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/kaunda-shot-by-zambian-police-1247080.html - The Independent
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/25/world/kaunda-wounded-sees-official-plot-to-kill-him.html - The New York Times
http://mg.co.za/article/1997-09-29-shoot-kaunda-order-on-radio - Mail Guardian