By Jameson Chauluka:
The High Court sitting in Phalombe has sentenced a man and his wife to life and 25 years imprisonment, respectively, for taking part in the murder of their child with albinism.
Humphrey Elia, 29, and Mary Nankhuku, 43, were found guilty in April 2019 of murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kachingwe.
Phalombe Police spokesperson, Innocent Moses, said the court heard that the couple, during last year’s Independence Day celebrations on July 6 at Kotamu Trading Centre in the district, offered Kachingwe for sale.
“The court then learnt that, at the time, Elia followed his step-son, who was out with his friends at some grocery shop, where he offered the boy a poisoned drink. He was taken to a graveyard within the area where he was murdered by Elia and other accomplices,” he said.
Moses said the couple, which was sentenced on Friday, pleaded guilty to the charge.
Passing his sentence, High Court Judge Justice Sylvester Kalembera said the couple was a threat to society and deserved a stiff penalty.
Kalembera slapped Elia and Nankhuku with life imprisonment and 25 years imprisonment with hard labour, respectively, to deter would-be-offenders.
The couple is from Lungazi Village, Traditional Authority Jenala, in Phalombe.
Meanwhile, Phalombe Magistrate Court has also sentenced 21-year-old Innocent Zunguzeni to four years imprisonment for posting a phrase “albino for sale” on his Facebook page on February 17 2019.
Moses said Zunguzeni was charged with the offence of Cyber stalking contravening Section 88 of the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act.
“The State, through Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Hatwell Kachikonga, brought him before the court where he pleaded not guilty.
“All witnesses were brought before the court where Zunguzeni was found with the case to answer. The State prayed for a stiffer sentence on the convict, saying posting such a message on social media may bring fear to persons with albinism,” he said.
Last month, the High Court sitting in Thyolo handed out a death sentence to Willard Mikaele, a 28-year-old barber from the tea-growing district, after finding him guilty of strangling to death 19-year-old Mphatso Pensulo.
Mikaele had pleaded guilty to the offence which he committed after being advised in Mozambique by a witchdoctor to kill a person with albinism if he wanted to get rich.
“The motive behind the killing was as devilish as it is primitive. I want to agree with the State that death sentence is appropriate as it reflects a sense of justice in the circumstances,” Justice Maclean Kamwambe said in his ruling.
It is estimated that some 24 people with albinism have been killed since 2014, with over 160 cases of attacks registered.