A 30-year-old man of Kasempa district in the North-western province has been sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour for murder.
Appearing before Kitwe-based high court judge, Judy Mulongoti sitting in Solwezi was Michael Kipimpa who stood charged with one count of murder contrary to Section 200 of the Penal Code CAP 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Facts before the court were that on August 28, 2012, Kipimpa caused the death of his 68 year old in-law, Meliya Kalusa, by stripping her naked, beating her with a coffin and sticks on suspicion that she was a witch and had killed Kipimpa’s daughter.
The deceased, Kalusa, died as a result of brain haemorrhage and injuries sustained from the beatings.
Justice Mulongoti said she had no doubt that Kipimpa had malice aforethought and intended to kill and found him guilty of murder with extenuating circumstances.
In sentencing Kipimpa to life imprisonment with hard labour, Justice Mulongoti noted that cases of people killing others with coffins on suspicion that they were practicing witchcraft were very prevalent in the North-western province which needed stiffer punishment to be meted out in order to deter other would-be offenders.
Justice Mulongoti said a message needs to be conveyed that those that kill others on suspicion of witchcraft will be severely punished by the court which has a duty to protect all citizens, especially the aged.
She said it was sad that a defenceless woman was stripped naked in front of her relatives and died a gruesome, painful and humiliating death which will traumatize her relatives for the rest of their lives.