Kavango farm manager guilty of double murder
A FORMER farm manager from the Kavango Region is awaiting sentencing on two murder charges after being convicted in the High Court at Oshakati in connection with the gunshot death of two men in October 2009.
Judge Marlene Tommasi found Ndawedwa Immanuel Shuudeni guilty on two counts of murder and further charges of attempted murder and the possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence. Judge Tommasi’s verdict was announced on Tuesday last week. Her full judgement was made available on Wednesday this week.
Shuudeni pleaded not guilty to all of the charges at the start of his trial in the High Court at Oshakati. He did not testify in his own defence, though, and ended up being convicted as charged.
Shuudeni was accused of murdering a farmworker, Muyenga Hausiku, and a resident of the same farm, Joseph Philips Angula, at Siheketera in the Kavango Region on October 30 2009. He was further accused of trying to murder a third person, Maria Eino Cuse, who was the wife of Hausiku.
The two men were both shot in the chest with a .308 rifle. Both of them died at the scene of the shooting. Cuse sustained a flesh wound when she was shot in the arm.
The rifle used in the incident belonged to Shuudeni’s employer, who had instructed him to only use the firearm in case of an emergency, the court heard during the trial.
One of the witnesses who testified on behalf of the prosecution told the court that he and Angula had been drinking beer with Shuudeni, Hausiku and another farmworker during the afternoon of October 30 2009.
Afternoon turned into evening, and as it got later, an argument erupted between Hausiku and the other farmworker, the court heard.
When they returned to where the group had been drinking, it appeared that Shuudeni had been irked by something that Angula had said, Judge Tommasi recounted the evidence in her judgement.
Shuudeni then told the people with him that he was going to fetch a gun and was going to kill all of the people with him. He then got up and left.
The surviving witness decided to get away from the scene, and as he was leaving, he heard a succession of shots ringing out.
He also heard Shuudeni calling the names of Angula and Hausiku and asking where they were. In between the calling of their names, he heard a shot going off.
The person who had been involved in the quarrel with Hausiku told the court that after he had heard the shots, Shuudeni came to him and told him that he had killed Hausiku.
Three spent cartridges were later found at the scene.
Shuudeni reported the incident to the Police the same evening. He told a Police officer that Hausiku wanted to shoot him with a bow and arrow, and that he then fired one shot at Hausiku. This same shot also struck and killed Angula, he claimed.
Shuudeni also told another Police officer that he had decided to shoot Hausiku and Angula because they would threaten him with bows and arrows whenever they were drunk. He said he was fed up with their threats and had decided to end their lives before they ended his, Judge Tommasi recounted the evidence.
She noted that no bow and arrow were found at the scene.
She said: “From the evidence presented by the State the court may conclude that (Shuudeni) expressed an intention to shoot and kill the persons present under the open hut, he in fact shot and killed two persons in the vicinity of the open hut.”
The evidence presented by the State was sufficient to require an answer from Shuudeni, Judge Tommasi said.
Given the evidence before the court and Shuudeni’s failure to testify, the court could only conclude that he had fired three shots in the direction where Hausiku and Angula were sitting, with a direct intention to kill them, Judge Tommasi found.
With Cuse having testified that she was about a metre form Shuudeni when he fired the shot that injured her, Judge Tommasi concluded that he also had an intention to kill her.
Shuudeni’s trial is set to continue on July 25, when the court is due to hear arguments and possible evidence on the sentences to be handed to Shuudeni.
Deputy Prosecutor General Lucious Matota is prosecuting. Shuudeni is represented by defence lawyer Moudi Hangula.