Tension ensued in the High Court in Zomba yesterday after Alfred Yohane, one of the suspects in last year’s murder of a person with albinism, MacDonald Masambuka in Machinga, implicated some high profile politicians (names withheld because of a gag order).
When the court convened for hearing yesterday morning, Yohane, represented by lawyers from Legal Aid Bureau, was stopped in his tracks after mentioning some top politicians serving in the current administration as being behind the attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism in the country.
State lawyer Steven Kayuni raised an objection that Yohane’s testimony did not reflect contents of a witness statement submitted by the defence to the prosecution team.
He described the act as an ambush as the suspects are supposed to testify based on the statement in accordance to Section 303 (5) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.
Presiding judge Zione Ntaba adjourned the case to 2pm to allow the defence have a briefing with their client to avoid providing hearsay evidence and stick to facts.
But when the court reconvened in the afternoon, Yohane did not change his earlier statements, testifying that Catholic priest Father Thomas Muhosha last year called to meet him at Michongwe Primary School in Ntaja, Machinga, where the priest allegedly said he was looking for tissues of a person with albinism to buy at K100 million.
Yohane said he agreed to hunt for the tissues. He told the court that when he asked the priest about the potential market, Muhosha mentioned some senior politicians.
The judge then asked Legal Aid lawyer Trouble Kalua to take his client, Yohane, out of the courtroom or leave the suspect one-on-one with the judge.
Ntaba later adjourned the court to this morning.
Looking calm and composed as he walked out of the courtroom, Yohane shouted that he would not change his statements even if he is ‘beheaded’, saying he stands for the truth.
Judge Ntaba has also ordered the media not to publish names of the high profile politicians mentioned by the suspect or risk contempt of court.
In January this year, the court found Muhosha and 12 others with a case to answer.
The body of Masambuka, 22, who hailed from Nakawa Village, Traditional Authority Nkoola in Machinga, was found buried on April 1 2018 after he was reported missing in March the same year.
Besides Muhosha and Yohane, the suspects include Masambuka’s brother Cassim White Masambuka who faces three charges of murder, trafficking in persons and causing another person to harm a person with disability.