A FORMER Zambia Army Staff Sergeant, who sued the State for compensation after being afflicted with blindness while on a Peace Keeping Mission in Sierra Leone in 2000, has lost a case in the Lusaka High Court.
In her judgment, High Court Judge Anessie Banda-Bobo said she failed to see how the complainant Martin Sinalumbu could be entitled to compensation as medical records and the doctor’s testimony demonstrated unequivocally that the he suffered from herpes zoster.
Justice Banda-Bobo further said documentation on record was well collaborated with the doctor’s testimony that the reasons given by Mr Sinalumbu as causes for his ailment in his testimony before court were not accepted by the Medical Board constituted to hear his case.
She said it was also clear from the record and specifically from Mr Sinalumbu’s testimony that he was declared fit for base duty but could not be deployed to field operations.
Mrs Justice Banda-Bobo added that she was of the view that the plaintiff failed to discharge his burden and that by being sent for the Peace Keeping Mission, the Zambia Army acted within its statutory authority and jurisdiction.
She added that Mr Sinalumbu had failed to show that by sending him on the Peace Keeping Mission, the Army acted negligently or/and breached its statutory duty or common law because of the events leading to the impairment complained of. Mrs Justice Banda-Bobo said for the foregoing reasons Mr Sinalumbu had failed for want of merit. In this case, the complainant sued the State and claimed compensation for his blindness, damages for breach of statutory duty of care or common law duty of care towards him by failing to ensure safe working conditions to him in Sierra Leone.
Mr Sinalumbu also claimed damages for the pain, inconvenience, anguish, trauma, loss of liberty and freedom, and beatings he suffered at the hands of the rebel soldiers during the period in captivity including costs and any other reliefs which the court might have deemed fit.
In his statement of claim, he submitted that he was among a group of soldiers who were sent to Sierra Leone in May, 2000 for the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission and upon arrival they were captured by the rebel soldiers. He averred that he was held hostage by the Revolutionary United Front at a place called Koido, Kono District of Sierra Leone.
Mr Sinalumbu further submitted that it was while in captivity when he felt like something hit his right eye and caused the blindness.
He was there for a month without receiving any treatment and was subjected to all kinds of inhuman treatment by the rebels. He was later released and flown to Monrovia, Liberia for his medical treatment.
Mr Sinalumbu further said that his permanent disability according to the medical doctor’s findings made him go on early retirement, and that he would not be able to see for the rest of his life.