Tanzania: Appeal Court Upholds Death Penalty of Trio

THE Court of Appeal has confirmed the death sentence imposed on three residents of Ihumwa Village within Dodoma Municipality for killing their fellow villager, in the course of forcefully taking from him some 59 heads of cattle.

Justices; Batuel Mmilla, Sivangilwa Mwangesi and Jacobs Mwambegele ruled against the three appellants, Wyclife Salum, alias Nyendo, Shaban Kefa, alias Njulumui and John Mangwela, after dismissing the appeal they lodged to challenge the findings of the High Court.

"We hold that the case against the appellants was sufficiently proved and thereby, making the appeal to be devoid of merit.

Without any further ado, we dismiss it in its entirety," the justices declared. During hearing, the appellants had complained, among other things, that he trial Court erred in law and in fact in convicting them without proof of their guilt on a required standard, that is, beyond all reasonable doubts.

They had contended that the trial Court erred in law and in fact in convicting them based on weak and contradictory evidence and that the High Court failed to properly evaluate the evidence tendered in Court.

In their judgment delivered in Dodoma Registry recently, the justices of the appeals court noted from the evidence that Philimon Chimwagamwaga, the deceased, whose body was found in the bush, met his death while grazing cattle and that those who caused his death, left with those animals.

There were some issues that the court had to determine in deliberation of the appeal.

Among the issues is whether the cattle which were being grazed by the deceased before meeting his death, were the ones which were found in the possession of the appellants.

Other issues are whether the appellants were the ones who led to the discovery of the body of the deceased; Whether the evidence given by the appellants in their defence, was not considered by the learned trial Judge and whether the case against the appellants was sufficiently established.

Having scrutinized the evidence on record, the justices agreed with the prosecution's submissions that the cattle intercepted in Manchari village on November 22, 2011, were positively identified to be the ones which were being grazed in the bush by the deceased.

"We sustain the contention by the Senior State Attorney and answer the first issue in the affirmative that, the appellants were indeed the persons who were found in possession of the head of cattle which previously, were being grazed in the bush by the deceased before he met his death," they ruled.

The justices also ruled that it was the appellants who led to the discovery of the dead body.

Having undoubtedly invoked the doctrine of recent possession, they were settled in their mind that the evidence left no any conclusion other than directly implicating the appellants to the offence of murder.

Samwel Chimwagamwaga had told the court that the deceased was his father, with whom they resided in the same village of Ihumwa, involving themselves in farming and pastoralism activities.

On November, 21, 2011 he did not go with his late father to graze their herd of cattle in the bush as it was the practice, because he went out on some other business. He assigned his wife to do the needful for her father in law, before he left for the bush with the herd of cattle.

The son returned home at about 18:00 hrs, only to find that his father and the herd of cattle were nowhere to be seen.

The situation shocked him because it was unusual.

After his initial efforts to trace the whereabouts of his father and the herd of cattle had proved barren, he reported the matter to the village authority, which summoned the entire members of the village to assist in looking for both missing father and the herd of cattle. On the said night they were not successful.

On the following day, which was November 22, 2011 at about 10:00 hrs they got information through a mobile phone that some herd of cattle had been intercepted at Manchari area.

They rushed to the same. On arrival, they found all their lost herd of cattle which were 59 in number, except one. He managed to identify them through their marks. At the said village they were further told that, there were three young men, who had been driving the cattle.

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