A 28-year-old Zambian man who stole three oxen in 2016 in the Singalamwe area was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Christian Muyunda Mabuku (28), was arrested on 19 November 2016 in the Chantu area, and charged with stock theft. The three oxen had an estimated value of N$4 000 each.
Key state witness Simasiku Simasiku, who is a cattle herder in the Chantu area, told the court that on 19 November 2016 at around 12h00, he went to look for his cattle in the grazing area behind the Nova police station.
On his way there, he saw two men driving three oxen in his direction. He hid behind a tree to observe who these people were because he did not recognise them.
When they were near enough, he came out from behind the tree, and asked them where they were going. Without saying anything, the two men started walking faster towards him, holding pangas. Fearing for his life, Simasiku ran to look for help.
He returned to his village, and called four men to help him apprehend the suspects as he believed they had stolen the cattle. When they returned to the spot where he had met the two men, they did not find them, and thus followed their footprints.
They caught up with them with the oxen, about 300 metres from where Simasiku had left them earlier. When the suspected rustlers saw Simasiku and his friends coming, they fled. But the villagers gave chase and apprehended one, later identified as Mabuku.
They took the three oxen and Mabuku to the Nova police station, where he was arrested and charged. It was later discovered that the cattle were stolen from the Sigalamwe area, and belonged to James Kaita.
Before sentencing Mabuku, magistrate Bongani Ndlovu observed that Mabuku was a first-time offender, that the cattle were recovered, and that he had already spent 14 months in custody. He sentenced Mabuku to five years imprisonment, with two years conditionally suspended.
Mabuku was represented by Sunday Muhinda, a state-funded lawyer. George Matali prosecuted.