TWO Luapula Province peasant farmers have been sentenced to death

TWO peasant farmers of Luapula Province have been sentenced to death by hanging for burning to death seven elderly persons aged between 54 and 80 whom they accused of killing a chief using witchcraft.

High Court judge Chalwe Mchenga jailed Joackim Kawawa and Elalio Mwansa, both aged 26, from Samfya for setting ablaze a house with people in it whom they accused of killing sub-chief Mumpaka using witchcraft.
Kawawa and Mwansa are charged with seven counts of murder contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
The duo allegedly committed the offence on September 21, 2011 while acting jointly with other unknown persons.
“Having found that these are not extenuating circumstances, I sentence each of the accused persons to death by hanging on all seven counts. The two will be hanged until they are pronounced dead,” Mr Justice Mchenga said in a judgement delivered in the Lusaka High Court yesterday.
Mr Justice Mchenga said Kawawa and Mwansa had the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against their conviction and sentence.
Kawawa and Mwansa burnt Impison Malunga, 68, Laban Songo, 70, Lutoto Chamina, Jenipher Mwewa, 54, Alick Bufumi, 60, Green Mecha, 80, and Enear Lumpa.
According to the results of a postmortem, the cause of death of the seven was neurogenic shock due to third degree burns. Neurogenic shock occurs after an injury to the spinal cord.
One of the witnesses, Jessy Mwange, who lost her uncle in the incident, said Kawawa, popularly known as Sadam Hussein, was in the forefront getting the deceased people from their houses to a holding place.
Mrs Mwange said Kawawa threatened to kill, in the same manner, any person who showed signs of interfering with the operation.
And Mr Justice Mchenga also sentenced to death by hanging two men of Chienge in Luapula Province for killing Albert Shumbwa, a motorbike operator, in February this year.
The judge further handed a 30-year jail term on Kelvin Musonda, 23, and James Chiwele, 24, for stealing Mr Shumbwa’s motorbike valued at over K3, 000.
Musonda and Chiwele were charged with one count of murder and one count of aggravated robbery, contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
“On the charge of aggravated robbery, I sentence the accused persons to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from February 18, 2013. On murder, I sentence you to death by hanging until you are pronounced dead,” Mr Justice Mchenga said.
He said incidents of killing taxi drivers are on the increase and offenders should be halted through stiffer punishment.