The Court of Appeal has heard how a man from Mufumbwe, North-Western Province, stabbed his customer to death in 2018 for failing to pay the K5 he owed for some meat pieces, commonly known as michopo, which he obtained on credit.
Misheck Tololi, a 43-year-old street vendor, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Charles Chiwaisha in March 2018. He appealed against both the conviction and the sentence, which have now been dismissed for lack of merit.
According to court records, Tololi was selling pieces of meat on the roadside when Chiwaisha bought some on credit for K5. Later, Tololi went to sell the meat elsewhere and returned to Chiwaisha for his payment. He asked Chiwaisha to follow him behind a house to discuss the debt owed for the michopo.
The court heard that after about five minutes, Chiwaisha was seen moving backward with blood oozing from his neck. He then fell near a mango tree. Shortly after, Tololi was spotted running away with a knife in his hand.
In his defense, Tololi told the trial court that when he pulled Chiwaisha aside to discuss the debt, the now-deceased, who was visibly drunk, denied owing him any money. This led to an exchange of words and a physical altercation during which they grabbed each other’s shirts.
He further stated that, while trying to free himself, he pushed Chiwaisha, who, due to his drunken state, fell onto a sharp log, resulting in a cut and blood flow. Tololi claimed he initially reached out to help but, upon seeing the extent of the bleeding, he became frightened and fled the scene to avoid potential public backlash.
After being convicted and sentenced to death, Tololi appealed in the Court of Appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in law and fact when convicting him of murder, considering the defense of provocation. He also contended that the court made an error in sentencing him to death without considering extenuating circumstances related to a failed defense of provocation.
However, Court of Appeal Judge Kelvin Muzenga, who delivered the judgment on behalf of the bench, noted that there was no failed defense of provocation to mitigate the death penalty.
“The learned judge below found that no provocation was committed, and we agree with him for the reasons earlier stated,” he said. “Therefore, there is no failed defense of provocation to mitigate the death penalty. This ground also fails. The appeal is thus dismissed. We uphold the conviction as well as the sentence.”
Credit: Zambia Daily Mail