Panga killer found guilty

Mukonka Ambrosius Haingura had admitted to the killing, saying he acted in self-defence after his father had threatened to kill him.

13 August 2019 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITH

A young man who hacked his sleeping father to death with a panga in 2016, and then buried the body in a shallow grave, was convicted of murder in the Oshakati High Court last week.

Mukonka Ambrosius Haingura was 24 years old when he was arrested and charged with the murder of his father, Mukonga Simon Mangandu (49) at Ndama location in Rundu on 16 April 2016.

After his arrest he admitted to the murder but said he had acted in self-defence after his father had threatened to kill him.

He pleaded not guilty and argued that he had killed his father because “he did not want to die first.”

A post-mortem examination found that Mangandu had suffered an open skull fracture and multiple other injuries to the head, arms, abdomen and neck.

Oshakati High Court Judge Johanna Salionga said in her ruling on 5 August that police photos of the murder scene “told a tale of a monstrous and brutal savage [attack] on the deceased, as the face and the neck were totally disfigured.”

Haingura’s mother, Kazumba Veronika Mutando, corroborated her son’s testimony of a troubled relationship with his father, which had deteriorated notably after he failed grade 12.

Haingura told the court that his relationship with his father had turned sour in 2016 and that his father allegedly assaulted him on at least two occasions.

He told the court that on the day of the panga attack, he and his father were home alone after his younger brother had left the house.

“He stood up, fetched a machete and went to his father’s bedroom. When he entered his room his father was lying on the bed and he could see that he was not sleeping because his eyes were flicking. He immediately hacked him more than once because he did not know what the deceased’s intentions were,” the judge recounted.

Haingura was unable to tell the court how many times he had hacked his father.

Afterwards, he wrapped the body in a blanket and dug a hole in the yard. He buried the body and then wrapped the panga in a blue overall and hid it in his sister’s room under a mattress. He also hid the blood-stained bed sheets and turned the mattress on which his father had lain upside down.

Gruesome find

When his younger brother returned home late that day, he found no one at home at first.

Mukonka Fabianus Kaukuwo testified that he then saw his brother coming out of his father’s room, “sweating” and when he entered the bedroom he saw blood spatter on the walls. He also noticed an area outside the house that had been freshly dug, covered up and raked.

When his mother returned from work, he took her to the room.

“She turned the mattress and she saw a lot of blood. His mother started crying,” the judge summarised.

A cousin reported the matter to the police.

The police found the body of the murder victim beneath around “20 cm of soil” wrapped in a checked cloth.

Intention

Salionga said in her judgment although Haingura had pleaded not guilty and had argued he acted in self-defence, there was no justification for the use of the panga on a defenceless person. She further said that at the time, there was no direct threat against him.

Salionga said the use of a panga to hack his father “several times was not only unnecessary but wholly disproportionate as well.”

She said instead of the murderous action, Haingura could have reported his father’s threats to the police.

She further found that Haingura had acted in revenge for an earlier grievance and that it is “safe to conclude that there was no manifestation of imminent danger or attack.”

On a second charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, the judge found Haingura guilty.

The State was represented by Advocate Robert Shileka and Haingura by Godfrey Bondai from the directorate of legal aid.

The sentencing date has not yet been released.

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