Publish the Dr Rodger Chongwe Commission Report – Harrington

ENVIRONMENTALIST William Harrington says it is an application of double standards on the part of Vice-President Inonge Wina to justify the need for yet another costly and time-consuming commission of inquiry on privatisation by saying that the people want to know the truth over what transpired during that programme.

Harrington however said Vice-President Wina continues to maintain a deafening silence over numerous public demands that the findings and recommendations of the Dr Rodger Chongwe-led Commission of Inquiry be made public.

He said it was matter of great concern that the Commission Report had been gathering dust somewhere at State House for several years now.

“In The Mast edition of Saturday October 10, 2020, Her Honour the Vice-President is quoted as having told Parliament and the nation at large that, quote: ‘Whereas for the commission in privatisation, it has a lot of issues that need to be exposed, and how the people have suffered at the hands of privatisation can rest their cases in peace. Otherwise, they will continue to agitate. And a lot of innuendos have been in the air. So, we want to complete this matter, bring it to an end so there are no more accusations in future.'” he noted. “The VP is or should be fully aware that many unarmed and defenceless Barotse nationals suffered, were brutalised and died at the hands of security agents on that fateful 14th January 2011 during the so-called Mongu disturbances.”

Harrington said at least 15 people were reported to have died.

“Very sadly, an elderly woman who was a TB patient including a three months old baby died from effects of tear-gassing. Many nationals are reportedly missing and remain unaccounted for to date. If my allegations are not correct, I challenge the authorities to make public the report,” he said. “Madam Wina who interestingly hails from that part of the globe is fully aware that friends and relatives of all those people have been crying out for the release of the Dr Rodger Chongwe Commission Report but their cries have been all in vain. The people have a right to know the truth and facts about what transpired and the whereabouts of their friends and relatives.”

Harrington said in the same manner and zeal Vice-President Wina was applying to justify the proposed commission of inquiry on privatisation for purposes of knowing the truth, as she was claiming, he was challenging her to show some compassion by using her privileged position and influence to publish the Dr Rodger Chongwe Commission Report so that the truth can be known and put the matter put to rest.

“The VP must be sensitive to the fact that many people some of whom I am sure could be her relatives are still hurting and pained about the 2011 Mongu happenings and subsequent events. Surely, this is not too much to ask of her as the No. 2 in the Patriotic Front government,” he said.

Harrington said the people’s demands over the matter needed to be respected so that the souls of all those departed ones can rest in peace.

He said the government must not be seen to be hiding the truth.

Harrington said the truth about privatisation could surely not be more important than a matter that involved loss of life.

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