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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three albino killers to hang

Story courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper Tanzania

The three men convicted of an albino boy's murder

The High Court, sitting in this Shinyanga Region town specifically to preside over cases involving albino killings, delivered its first judgement yesterday. It convicted and sentenced to death three accused persons.

Reading the ruling, which lasted about an hour, High Court Judge Gabriel Rwakibalila said the court was satisfied that the evidence presented by the prosecution side proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of the three convicts in the killings.

He said the trio conspired and killed schoolboy Matatizo Dunia (13), an albino, on December 1 last year at Bunyihuna village in Shinyanga Region’s Bukombe District.

Those found guilty and now on death row are Masumbuko Madata (32) of Itunga Village, Emmanuel Masangwa (28) of Bunyihuna Village and Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa (42) of Nanda Village, all in Bukombe District. The court ruled that they committed the crime as per Section 16 of Criminal Act No. 196, as amended in 2002.

“This court has found all of you, first accused Masumbuko Madata, second accused Emmanuel Masangwa and third accused Charles Kalamuji alias Charles Masangwa, guilty of killing Matatizo Dunia, and therefore you will be hanged to death. However, you can appeal the sentence if you so wish,” the judge pronounced.

The long-awaited judgment appeared to please most of the people who had turned up at the court premises in huge numbers for an eyewitness account of the climax of the historic proceedings.

Judge Rwakibalila said the defence furnished the court with evidence meant to present the accused as innocent, adding: “But later evidence from the same side proved that the three accused were in fact solidly behind the killings.”

He explained that despite an inconsequential mix-up of some facts in submissions by the prosecution side, “the truth remained intact and hence the fairness of the judgment delivered by this court against the accused”.

The judge said among the trivial “slip-ups” he was referring to was the number of vehicles used by an unspecified number of police officers during arrest of the suspects.

“It is impossible for human being to remember every detail. However, this cannot change the truth,” he noted.

Added the judge: “The evidence presented in court included statements by Madata’s wife and Masumbuko’s third wife Yunis Peter, who stood as the second prosecution witness. The two women narrated in court how they saw their husbands returning home accompanied by Rajab Luchoronga, who is still at large. They also witnessed Matatizo’s severed legs being recovered from a nearby bush which Masumbuko frequently visited for soothsaying.”

Judge Rwakibalila pointed out further that the evidence presented in court by a bother to Madata showed how the accused fled alongside Luchoronga as the police approached.

“Again, third accused Kalamuji’s wife identified as Sofia Andrew explained how her husband disappeared from the family home on November 30 last year before it was reported that he had been arrested in connection with the killing of an albino,” added the judge.

Commenting on the evidence presented by the Chief Government Chemist, the judge said the first and the third accused were directly implicated in Matatizo’s brutal killing “as DNA samples collected from the boy’s blood technically proved them to have hand a hand in the killing”.

Soon after Judge Rwakibalila was through, the defence side declared that they intended to appeal the ruling.

Defence counsel Kamaliza Kayaga said he was not satisfied with the ruling against his clients and contesting it was the only option they would pursue.

The court adjourned until September 28, which is set for the hearing of another murder case. This time the accused is Joseph Lugota of Kagongwa Village in Isagehe Ward, who stands charged with killing Ng’wana Gimbishi (75) of Kilimbi Village in Mwalugulu Ward in Kahama District.

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