A man who killed his aunt in the Kavango West region by kicking her and whipping her with a donkey halter has been sentenced to a prison term of 18 years after he was found guilty of murder during a session of the High Court at Rundu.
Judge president Petrus Damaseb sentenced Kandjimi Haingura, who killed his aunt at Gcigco, a village in the Kavango West region, on 12 June 2020, to 18 years’ imprisonment at the end of his trial on Tuesday.
Behatta Nipembe (57) died of internal injuries she sustained when she was assaulted. Her liver was ruptured as a result of the assault.
Damaseb found Haingura guilty of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, after concluding that his assault on Nipembe caused her death and that Haingura foresaw his assault on her may result in her death.
During his trial last week, Haingura told the court that Nipembe often accused him of riding neighbours’ donkeys, and that he assaulted her because of those allegations she had made against him.
Haingura, who also told the court he is unsure of his age, but thinks he is 23 years old, admitted that he assaulted Nipembe with a donkey halter, slapped her in the face and also kicked her in the ribs.
He claimed he kicked her three times only, and denied that he intended to kill her.
During the sentencing, Damaseb said Haingura literally kicked Nipembe to death.
He said the crime committed by Haingura reveals traits of someone who has a “short fuse”.
Said Damaseb: “It must offend society’s sensibilities that he could act in such a violent fashion against one of his own on account of such a trivial matter, and with such ferocity. [Haingura] is clearly a danger to society.”
He said Nipembe experienced a painful death: “She endured humiliating and painful whipping, slapping and ultimately kicking that rendered her immobile. A more cruel death is hardly imaginable.”
Turning to Haingura’s personal circumstances, Damaseb said life has not been kind to him.
Haingura did not attend school, does not even know when he was born, and spent most of his life tending to his family’s livestock, the judge recounted.
He said an uncle of Haingura told the court he had been an obedient and helpful family member, and that his family are prepared to forgive him and welcome him back into their fold.
On the crime that Haingura committed, Damaseb said this was a clear example of the spectre of the violence of men against women and children that looms large in Namibian society, has become a customary way of resolving interpersonal disputes, and shows no sign of abating.
Haingura was represented by defence lawyer Petrine Hango, instructed by the Directorate of Legal Aid.
Deputy prosecutor general Ruben Shileka represented the state.