25 Years in Prison for Killing Life Partner

A RENEWED warning that men who murder their domestic partners should expect to receive heavy prison terms for their crimes came from the Oshakati High Court last week.

While the recent public outcry against gender-based violence has been heard in Namibia’s courts as well, individual offenders should not be made the scapegoats on behalf of all of those found guilty of committing heinous crimes within a domestic relationship, Judge Christie Liebenberg remarked before he sentenced an Ondangwa district resident Vilho Kadhila, to 25 years’ imprisonment over the murder of his (Kadhila’s) life partner.

Judge Liebenberg repeated an earlier warning that the message that should be clearly heard coming from Namibia’s courts is that crimes involving domestic violence will not be tolerated and that sentences imposed on people convicted of such crimes will be appropriately severe.

“We live in an orderly society which is governed by moral values and obligations with respect for one another,” he told Kadhila. “It is expected of all members of society to respect and uphold these values.”

Kadhila (41) was sentenced after he had pleaded guilty to a charge of murder. He admitted that he murdered his life partner, Sara Shilongo (35), at Oshitosi, a village in the Ondangwa district, on 18 April last year by assaulting her with a knobkierie.

Kadhila informed the court in a plea explanation that he and Shilongo were both drunk at the time of the incident. He related that they had spent the day drinking tombo at local cuca shops and that they returned home when Shilongo started to get quarrelsome.

They had their baby with them at the cuca shops. Kadhila said that after they had returned home he found that Shilongo was not in their house. He then found the baby outside, where Shilongo had left the child.

Kadhila said he took the baby inside and retired to bed. When Shilongo returned home later he confronted her about her absence an argument ensued, Kadhila said.

He claimed that Shilongo had a knobkierie with her and that he took the weapon from her during a scuffle. He then started to beat her with it and continued to strike her all over her body after she had fallen to the ground.

After the assault he alerted his neighbours and the police were summoned. Shilongo was dead by the time the police arrived at the scene.

Her breastbone and four of her ribs were broken in the assault, and she also suffered injuries to her liver and lungs, the court heard.

Shilongo was the mother of four children. Kadhila was the father of three of her children. Her oldest three children were living with her mother before her death because Kadhila and Shilongo were heavy drinkers who did not take proper care of the children, Shilongo’s mother told the court.

Judge Liebenberg said he regarded the ruthless and cruel way in which Kadhila assaulted Shilongo as aggravating. He said while the assault was preceded by some provocation, Kadhila completely overreacted by mercilessly hitting Shilongo, who was lying defenceless on the ground, with the knobkierie. It would appear that sentences Kadhila received for three previous convictions of assault – of which one was an assault on Shilongo – did not have the necessary deterrent effect on him, the judge said. He added that he accepted Kadhila’s guilty plea as a mitigating factor.

Source : The Namibian