Court Sends to Jail Two Deceased Property Grabbers

The widow The widow - pic by Hastings Jimani

Two men that were answering property grabbing related offences at Mulanje Magistrate’s court were on Thursday ordered to serve custodial sentences of five years each.

Last year, the two, Simon Pitani 58 and Black Saidi 38 evicted the widow, Christina Mwenyako, 56, from her land she stayed with her late husband for over 30 years, demolished her house and stole some of her property.

Mwenyako told the court that it all started in 2019 when her in-laws who happen to be relatives of her late husband ordered her to leave the land. But she defied the order

“My in-laws came again in January, 2020, and slashed maize crops in my garden and I tried to seek justice from my village head, GVH, the TA and District Commissioner’s office but none assisted me,” said Mwenyako.

She said in June, 2020, they came again and this time around, they forced her out of her house and demolished the house leaving her destitute.

With support from Shalom Care International, the widow reported the matter to police who arrested two people, Simon Pitani 58 and Black Saidi 38 in January this year and charged them with malicious damage and theft offences.

They were taken to court where they pleaded not guilty to the charges and they applied for bail which the court granted.

On August, 25 this year, First Grade Magistrate Mphalulo Fatchi convicted the two of both charges and revoked the bails.

And on Thursday, 2nd September, 2021, Magistrate Fatchi ordered the two to serve custodial sentences of three years and two years for malicious damage and theft offences respectively and the sentences are to run concurrently.

He said their conduct was very heinous not deserving the widow who is their in law.

“You subjected the woman who happens to be your own in-law just because of greed and unfortunately those who were supporting you in abusing this widow are not in the dock today,” said the visibly emotional Magistrate.

In an interview with Zodiak Online, the widow said she was happy with the sentence.

“But as you know, these people demolished my house and currently I sleep in my mother’s kitchen together with goats. I therefore plead with organizations especially those that support widows and vulnerable women to help me return to my land and help reconstruct my house there,” said Mwenyako.

Shalom Care International Coordinator Beatrice Sankhulani also hailed the state for building good cases against the two and the court for the justice delivered and she said the judiciary has demonstrated to the nation that the victimized can get justice.

“Special mention should go to Sub-Inspector Gladstone Kanyezi, the prosecutor and Mulanje Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Gresham Ngwira for siding with the widow and I promise to rally behind the widow until she relocates back to her land,” said Sankhulani.

Perhaps, the sentence will deter others from grabbing property of widows and orphans.

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