THE Livingstone High Court has sentenced a 35-year-old farmer of Pemba district to life imprisonment for murdering his debtor.
This is in a case where Emmanuel Himoonga was charged with the murder of Alex Himapanga.
In passing judgment on Monday, Livingstone High Court judge-in-charge Ernest Mukulwamutiyo observed that the accused was a youth, who if given an opportunity, could still integrate in society and contribute to the development of the country.
“I sentence you to life imprisonment,” Mr Mukulwamutiyo said.
In mitigation, Himoonga said he was drinking alcohol with the deceased and that he was not in his right state of mind when he committed the crime.
Facts before court are that the deceased had taken his goats and those of the accused to Lusaka for sale.
But when he returned to Livingstone, Himapanga told Himoonga that he had sold all the goats but the money was stolen.
Himoonga refused to believe the story and therefore demanded for his money or else he would kill Himapanga.
The deceased paid part of the money he owed Himoonga, but there was a balance of K145.
However, on unknown dates but between August 16 and 18, 2013, Himoonga and the deceased were together at a bar around 18:00 hours, when they started quarrelling over the debt.
Before he left the bar, the father of the deceased, who was present when the two were quarrelling, asked Himoonga to see him the following day so that he could give him the remainder of the money.
The court heard that Himapanga’s father left the two drinking.
The deceased’s father said his son did not return home that night, and Himoonga did not show up the following day to get his money as agreed.
Two days after the deceased went missing, Himapanga’s relatives and community members started looking for him.
After two days of an unsuccessful search mission, Himoonga came through and offered to help. During the search, the accused asked the group if they had checked at a certain place near the stream. When they responded in the negative, he insisted that some people needed to go there.
To the people’s surprise, the deceased was found beside the stream with bruises on his hands and a hole on the right side of the neck.
The matter was then reported to the police, who upon collecting the body, also picked up Himoonga as a suspect in the matter.