A ROMA Girls’ Secondary School teacher, Daswell Sichilongo, who was yesterday acquitted of assaulting the school’s head teacher, Emma Chakupalesa, has said he over-reacted when he beat up the Catholic nun. Mr Sichilongo, who has since unreservedly apologised to Sr Chakupalesa and her family for the humiliation the incident caused her, said he was grateful to the Catholic Church for the manner it handled the whole issue. Mr Sichilongo has since asked for forgiveness from his employers, the Ministry of Education, the Catholic Church, the school board, Sisters of Charity to which Sr Chakupalesa belongs and the entire nation. “My entire family and I would like to unreservedly apologise to Sr Emma Chikupalesa and the Religious Sisters of Charity for my uncalled-for behaviour that led to my arrest. What transpired that day should never have happened and should never be condoned,” he said. The Science teacher walked to freedom yesterday after Lusaka principal resident magistrate Aridah Chuulu acquitted him of one count of beating the nun after Sr Chikupalesa withdrew the case.
Mr Sichilongo, 53, of Roma Girls flat number 02 on July 19, 2014 beat up Sr Chikupalesa in full view of the Muvi television crew after she locked his house for failing to pay rentals. When the matter, which had been adjourned four times came up for commencement of trial, Sr Chikupalesa informed the court that she was withdrawing the case because she had forgiven her assailant. Sr Chikupalesa told the court that her withdrawal of the case had no strings attached such as a compensatory package but that it was done purely in the spirit of forgiveness. Speaking at a Press briefing held at Kapingila House attended by Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) secretary general Cleophas Lungu, Catholic lawyer Christopher Mundia and religious sisters, Mr Sichilongo said he was thankful for the forgiveness by Sr Chakupalesa. “I feel like something has been added to my life because of the forgiveness.
I Just used to hear about forgiveness until now it has come to me,” Mr Sichilongo, who embraced Sr Chakupalesa, said. Mr Sichilongo said it was unfortunate that he over-reacted in the manner he did and promised never to repeat his mistake and that he would continue treating religious sisters with the dignity they deserved. He has since accepted to undergo psychological counseling to show remorse for his actions so that the situation does not occur again. Sisters of Charity representative Margaret Mary Chileshe described Mr Sichilomgo’s apology as a touching one. Sr Chileshe said the reconciliation process had come a long way and that forgiveness was a gift that the sisters were giving to Zambia as it celebrates its Golden Jubilee. Father Lungu on behalf of the bishops in Zambia thanked Sr Chakupalesa for accepting Mr Sichilongo’s apology. Ministry of Education public relations officer Hillary Chipango said in an interview that the ministry would only be able to comment on the matter after receiving an official report because the issue touched on legal matters.
Times of Zambia