Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chitika's death sentence a Christmas gift - Mabenga

Chitika's death sentence a Christmas gift - Mabenga
By Mwala Kalaluka
Tue 25 Dec. 2012, 12:00 CAT

MICHAEL Mabenga says he hopes the Chitika family has learnt a lesson for failing to be remorseful over the murder of his daughter, whose widower, David Chitika, was yesterday sentenced to death for the offence.

This is in a matter where the late Gladys Maketo Mabenga's widower, David and his 23-year-old nephew, Lawrence Kaunda were charged with the murder of Maketo on unknown dates but between September 10 and 11, 2010 in Lusaka's Chilenje township.

Delivering her judgment in a packed courtroom yesterday, Lusaka High Court judge Flavia Chishimba held that Chitika, 39, and Kaunda, a student, were guilty of Maketo's murder and that this was with malice aforethought.

Judge Chishimba said Chitika's conduct or behaviour on the material day was odd for someone whose wife had died and that the maid, on whose testimony the prosecution anchored its case, was a credible witness despite her inconsistent statements in the court and at the police station.

She said the inconsistency in the maid's statement did not subtract from the import and purpose of her evidence as she adduced her evidence in a clear and coincise manner.

"She is a credible witness and I hold accordingly," judge Chishimba said. "It is not disputed nor is it in issue that two statements were given by PW1 prosecution witness 1."

She said the prosecution witnesses, who were the deceased's relatives, had no interest to serve when they testified that they noticed blood in her mouth and nose because any lay person could mistake such stains as such when they were in fact not.

Judge Chishimba said the two postmortem reports that were conducted in the wake of Maketo's death were conflicting as to the cause of deathbut that in fact they agreed on many findings.

"The second report, P11, was professionally done," she said in response to the defence's submissions that it was biased in favour of the Mabenga family.
Judge Chishimba said she found the first postmortem report to be inconclusive but that the second postmortem report supported the maid's testimony that Maketo was strangled whilst she was alive and that it was the squeezing of the neck that led to deprivation of oxygen.

"I find as a fact that the deceased died due to strangulation," she said. "I am satisfied that malice aforethought has been established by the prosecution. I find as a fact that A1 David Chitika caused the death of the deceased with the help of A2 Kaunda with malice aforethought."

Judge Chishimba said despite denying the charges, Chitika's evidence was full of untruths and that he exhibited an odd behaviour on the material morning.
"The evidence by A1 that the deceased had suicidal tendencies, this, in my view, is concoction," she said. "I, therefore, find accused persons guilty as charged and convict them accordingly."

Judge Chishimba said since there were no extenuating circumstances in the case, she was bound by the law to pronounce a death sentence for both Chitika and his nephew.

"I thereby sentence you to death by hanging," said judge Chishimba as some women in the gallery started crying.
Outside the courtroom, the Mabengas hugged each other as some were shedding tears while the Chitika family remained inside the courtroom for a while before they came out.

However, David's sister, Elizabeth Chitika-Molobeka, the chairperson for culture in the MMD, used a different exit.
Mabenga, a former MMD member of parliament, said Chitika's death sentence was a Christmas gift to his family and that the truth had finally come out.
"It is a very good day. It is good in the sense that someone is going to lose life; the killer is going to lose life," he said. "I find justice Flavia Chishimba to be a competent judge."

Mabenga said it was a pity a young man who was supposed to be his son-in-law had dragged himself into a mess and that this should teach the Chitikas how to deal with issues of that nature.

"They were supposed to have shown remorse, they didn't," he said. "They are barbaric in their approach to life and so I hope that the Chitika family would be able to learn from this. They did this because they thought they were clever. There is no tribalism here."

Mabenga also said no politics was involved.

"We mourned in 2010 and we are still mourning but today they too are mourning. It is a pity that someone has died but for us, it is a Christmas gift," said Mabenga.

Efforts to get a comment from the Chitikas proved futile.

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