THE Chipata High Court on Thursday sentenced a 38-year-old witchdoctor of Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s area to hang by the neck until pronounced dead for murdering and beheading his client who went to demand a refund.
Lusaka judge Mwila Chitabo jailed Dario Tembo popularly known as Dr Fulama of Fwifwi village, for murdering Tilivelio Phiri 57, in April this year.
Phiri met his fate when he went to the witchdoctor to demand a refund after discovering that his disease was not being transferred to the person who allegedly bewitched him as agreed.
One of the witnesses, Saindani Phiri, 26, a son to the deceased, told court that his father decided to consult Dario Tembo and seek attention from him when he felt that he was not receiving help from the hospital.
He narrated that after paying K200 to Tembo for screening, the convict later demanded for a payment of K3,500 in order for him to transfer the disease to the person who allegedly bewitched him.
Saindani said Tembo was instead given a cow in order for him to heal his father and to transfer the disease to the person who bewitched him.
He said after few days, his father went back to Tembo’s place to collect his cow because what the witchdoctor promised did not materialise, but never returned to the village.
Another witness, Francis Soko, informed the court that the village headman Lazaro Tembo instructed people in the village to go to Dario’s place and search for the deceased person.
He told court that about 40 people, including some dogs, went to conduct a search at the witchdoctor’s place.
He said the body of the deceased was found without a head and buried at the convict’s farm and that the accused person further led police officers to where he had buried the head which was found in a bag.
In his judgment, judge Chitabo said it could not be disputed that then deceased’s body, with its head severed, was found few metres from the convict’s house.
He said the deceased informed his relatives that he was going to see the witchdoctor to demand a refund but never went back home.
Judge Chitabo said the convict led police to where he had buried the head of the deceased.
He said it could not be disputed that the axe which was used was found in the house of the convict.
Judge Chitabo said fateful day the deceased was seen leaving the convict’s house with the convict carrying a small axe and handmade bags but never returned.
He said the evidence proved that the convict ritually murdered the deceased.
Judge Chitabo said there were no extenuating circumstances in the matter.
“My hands are tied by the legislature and I therefore impose the mandatory death sentence. I have to obey the law; I direct that you be hanged by the neck until certified dead by a qualified medical practitioner. You are granted leave to appeal to the High Court,” said judge Chitabo.