Setting alight a hut in which his wife, her sister and his daughter were sleeping has seen a Centenary man jailed 20 years for murder.
Nicholas Damota denied killing his daughter Modester when he appeared before Justice Joseph Musakwa sitting with two assessors who convicted him of murder with actual intent.
The court found that Damota of Chawaura Village under Chief Chiweshe in Centenary was not only reckless, but had an intention to kill.
“In the present case, the two aggravating factors are that the offence was premeditated and that the victim was a minor,” said Justice Musakwa. He said he had discretion regarding imposition of the death penalty, but found that Damota had problems with his wife, Evernice Kasiyabvumba, after he assaulted her for attending a traditional dance without informing him and returning home late.
After the assault on September 10 in 2013, Kasiyabvumba ran away from home and sought refuge at her parents’ home in the same village.
Later, Damota was summoned to appear before the village head. After deliberating over the matter, Damota was found guilty and fined two chickens for disrespecting his in-laws after he accused them of failing to groom their daughter.
After paying the fine, he was asked to collect his family the following day. Kasiyabvumba refused to go with her husband and Damota left uttering threats.
He returned during the night and set the hut ablaze in which his wife, her sister and the child were sleeping. Damota attempted to strike Kasiyabvumba and her sister Evermary with an axe while they were escaping from the burning hut.
However, Modester, the couple’s minor child died in the inferno.
Damota was later arrested while hiding in some gardens in the village.