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Justice at last

Priest, 11 others found guilty in Macdonald Masambuka murder case

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Steve Kayuni

The family of Macdonald Masambuka, a Machinga District man with albinism who was brutally murdered in 2018, will have closure after the High Court found all the 12 accused persons guilty of various counts ranging from murder to trafficking in persons.

When she presided over the case Thursday, Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga found five of the accused persons— Maxwell Matchinga Sosola, Dickson Ndengu, Mussa Lilongwe, Alfred Yohane and Masambuka’s brother Cassim White Masambuka— guilty of murder.

Clinician Lumbani Kamanga, Master Mphulanya Injesi, Lackiness Magombo and Cassim Masambuka have been convicted of causing harm to a person with disability while Catholic priest Thomas Muhosha, police officer Chikondi Chileka, Alfred Yohane, Mussa Lilongwe and Innocent Walasi have been found guilty of transacting in human tissue, among other charges.

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Delivering judgement, Nyakaunda Kamanga said the State proved all the 11 counts against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt.

“Every aspect of the seven counts has been proved beyond reasonable doubt in this court and all the accused persons are hereby convicted. Their actions violated his [Masambuka’s] right to life by plotting, killing and extracting tissue. This violates the laws of Malawi [as well as] regional and international laws which condemn taking anybody’s life,” said Kamanga, who remained calm throughout the proceedings.

Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni welcomed the judgement, saying Masambuka was betrayed by people he trusted.

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“There is a priest, a police officer and a brother. These are the people Masambuika trusted and we, as the State, are relieved that judgement has been delivered,” he said.

Defence lawyer Masauko Chamkakala, who is the Director of Legal Aid Bureau, said he would have to study the judgement before commenting on their next move.

The courtroom could not accommodate all the people that wanted to follow proceedings in the courtroom, with scores of people made to wait outside during delivery of the judgement, which took almost all day.

Association of People with Albinism former president Ian Simbota welcomed the judgement but bemoaned the time it took for the court to make its judgement on the case.

“Masambuka was murdered in 2018, which means it’s four years now,” he said.

In a related development, the High Court sitting in Phalombe has sentenced Patrick Muhevule, 37, to life imprisonment for murdering 14-year-boy with albinism Joseph Muyaya.

Judge Violate Chipao also sentenced the convict to 25 years imprisonment for extraction of human tissue and human trafficking.

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