21 November 2012

Tanzania: Three Ex-Soldiers to Hang for Murder

THE High Court in Dar es Salaam has sentenced to death by hanging three former members of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) for killing the son of Chief Abdallah Fundikira, Swetu Fundikira.

"You're hereby sentenced to death by hanging", declared Judge Zainabu Mruke, yesterday when delivering the judgement against the three - Sergeant Rhoda Robert (42), National Service force, Corporal Ally Ngumbe (37), Kunduchi barracks, and his relative Private Mohamed Rashid, Mbweni National Service.

Judge Mruke ruled that the prosecution, through its six witnesses, had sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubts that the three former soldiers had killed the son of the former veteran politician with intention.

The prosecution had alleged that the convicts, on January 23 this year, at Kinondoni, killed Swetu. Judge Mruke ruled that although no witness saw the actual killing, circumstantial evidence had proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the convicts committed the offence.

She ruled further that the prosecution side, with support of a postmortem report from Muhimbili National Hospital and the investigation report, had proved that the deceased was killed when he was hit on the head.

According to the reports that were submitted at the court as exhibits, the death of Swetu was caused by profuse breeding from the head and several other wounds. Judge Mruke said that on the material day, the convicts exchanged words with the deceased at Kawawa and Mwinjuma Road junction, and the convicts assaulted the deceased on the pretext that he had intended to steal their car.

It was further alleged that the convicts told eyewitnesses that they were going to take Swetu to Oysterbay Police Station for attempted carjack. However, the judge told the court, the convicts never took Swetu to the police station and instead the deceased was later found in the nude and dead, near a Jamatin mosque.

The judge stated that the convicts also provided before the court contradictory defence statements in an attempt to prove that they did not attack the deceased. After the judgement, relatives of Swetu wept. Others fainted.

The sister of the deceased, Rehema Fundikira, said that justice had prevailed.

"We're crying in pain and not in happiness. The judgement reminds me of the horrific day. We thank God because justice has been done," added Rehema.

The advocate of the convicts, Luge Kaloli, expressed his dissatisfaction saying that they would appeal against the judgement.

According to law, the decision of the High Court on such a serious crime is not final. The case will have to be referred to the Court of Appeal for examination of evidence, analysis by the trial court and the verdict arrived at.

The jurisprudence in the country's judiciary history shows that the Court of Appeal by Suo Mottu (own motion) or either of the parties (prosecution or defence) may move such cause of action to ensure the proceedings in the case, which carries capital punishment, were properly conducted.

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