21 January 2013

Zambia: Man to Answer for Stepson's Death

THE Kabwe High Court has found a Mkushi man with a case to answer after he allegedly strangled and smashed his one-year-two-month-old stepson's head.

This is in a case in which Chrispine Salim of Chikupili village is facing one count of murder of Crestone Chilala on May 15, last year.

Salim's wife, Margaret, testified before Judge Eddie Sikazwe that on the fateful day while in the company of her husband and her sister-in-law Crestovia Mupango, she went to the field and left the child who was in good health with the grandmother.

She said while at the field she did not realise that her husband had left because the field was quite vast.

Around 18:00 hours she went back home but did not find her child and when she asked her grandmother, she was told that Salim had taken the toddler with him to a relative's home.

Margaret said her husband's delay to come home made her panic and that is how she decided to inquire at the neighbour's house in the company of her brother-in-law identified as Kolala.

As they were returning home, they heard the accused calling her and they followed him near the roadside.

When asked where the child was, Salim said he had left it at his uncle's home and that the child was unwell. That was around 22:00 hours.

But when they arrived at Salim's uncle's place, he changed his statement, saying the child was at the clinic.

They went to the clinic where they discovered that the child was dead and at that point Salim ran away.

At the time of the incident, the two had only been married for three months.

Another witness Juma Kalunga, a farmer, told the court that on the fateful night the accused went to his house while carrying the baby.

He asked for a chitenje so that he could wrap the baby who at the time was only wearing underwear.

Mr Kalunga said Salim explained that he was taking the child to the clinic because it fell to the ground while he was carrying it on his shoulders.

He said when he was helping Salim to put the baby on the back, he noticed that it was unconcious while the accused looked scared and when asked about the whereabouts of his wife, he said she was at home.

Mr Kalunga said the following day he was shocked when he learnt that Salim had been arrested in connection with the death of his child.

Mr Justice Sikazwe has since set January 28, this year as the date for defence and the accused opted to defend himself.

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