President Peter Mutharika’s aide Symon Vuwa-Kaunda is claiming K1.7 billion ($2.4 million) as compensation for loss of property during the July 20 2011 protests against former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.
According to summons that Nation Online has seen at the High Court in Mzuzu, lawyer for the presidential adviser on national unity and parliamentary affairs, George Kadzipatike, accuses government of failing to protect property during the countrywide demonstrations.
The State House aide is claiming K800 million from government as the police service failed to safeguard his private property in Katoto, Mzuzu, by not using relevant laws, laxity in crowd control and failing to detonate tear gas or to fire in the air to disperse the irate rioters.
He also has a separate lawsuit in which he is demanding almost K900 million ($1.3 million) for another house which suffered a similar tragedy in Lilongwe, his lawyer said.
Kadzipatike said belonging to a governing party does not disqualify the presidential aide’s right to compensation.
He cited loss of use of the house and rentals worth about K150 000 a month and costs for reconstruction, saying: “We demand the sum should adequately compensate our client for the loss he has suffered.”
Kaunda was Minister of Information and Civic Education when armed police officers gunned down 20 unarmed protestors countrywide—the massacre which fanned violent scenes, with some citizens targeting property owned by public figures connected to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
However, Kaunda’s desired reparations eclipses the K31.204 million ($43 641) out of court settlement government brokered with families of 10 people killed by the police in Mzuzu alone.
On March 18, the High Court in Mzuzu gave government 14 days to pay the sum—ranging from K2 million ($2 797) to K3.8 million per family—which represents full and final settlements of the brutal killings which threatened freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate.
Government has failed to pay the aggrieved families despite Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya indicating that Capital Hill was eager to put the matter to rest by honouring the consent judgement served on May 10.
Last Monday, the families’ lawyer Leonard Mbulo wrote Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale threatening to begin contempt of court proceeding if government fails to pay by Tuesday this week.
However, Kaphale, who said he had not been served with the court summons by yesterday, promised to challenge the matter in court like he did with the K2 billion claim made by Mulli Brothers whose property was vandalised by the rioters in Lilongwe.