A YOUNG man who murdered his grandfather when he attacked him with an axe and a panga in the Kavango West region nearly three years ago, has been sentenced to a prison term of 25 years at the end of his trial in the Oshakati High Court.
Judge Herman January sentenced Moses Mbandu Murangi (25) to 25 years' imprisonment on a charge of murder, and a suspended prison term of three years on a count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm last Friday.
He reminded Murangi during the sentencing that the courts have a duty to protect the constitutional right to life, and also commented that in his view, Murangi was a danger to society and to his family.
Murangi admitted guilt on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm when his trial began in April this year, but pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.
He admitted that on 19 November 2016, he assaulted a teenage cousin of his by beating her with a stick, and further claimed that he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed his grandfather Eino Shiyukifeni Hamutenya (78) in the neck with a knife on the same evening. The incidents took place at Mpungu, situated west of Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West region.
Judge January found Murangi guilty of murder in August, when he rejected Murangi's claim that he had acted in self-defence when he killed Hamutenya.
The court heard during the trial that Murangi arrived home from a cuca shop where he had been drinking on the evening of the incident and got into an argument with his cousin, who was pregnant at the time. He assaulted her, and when she cried for help, their grandfather came to her assistance.
According to Murangi, Hamutenya hit him with the flat side of a panga, which fell to the ground when he blocked a second blow directed at him with the weapon. Murangi also said he disarmed his grandfather by taking a knife away from him, and that he stabbed Hamutenya once with the knife because he was trying to ward off a further attack by Hamutenya.
Murangi fled from the scene, and was arrested the next day.
Judge January rejected his version after noting that medical evidence showed Hamutenya had died as a result of a cut wound to the side of his neck which severed a major artery, and that he also had a gaping wound on his left cheek, and what was described as a defensive injury on one of his arms.
The judge also accepted the testimony of a younger sister of Murangi, who told the court that she saw Murangi take an axe that Hamutenya was carrying under his belt and strike Hamutenya with it on the side of his head. The girl further told the court that Hamutenya fell to the ground after he had been struck with the axe, and that Murangi then picked up a panga that lay on the ground and hit their grandfather on his neck with it. Hamutenya was a subsistence farmer, the court was told. Murangi had been employed as a farmworker in the Hardap region before the incidents took place. Following his arrest, he was kept in custody for nearly two years and ten months before his trial was concluded. Deputy prosecutor general Lucius Matota represented the state during the trial. Murangi was represented by legal aid lawyer Leon Kabajani.