The brutal cold blood murder of Adrian Sikabala on 9th September, 2019 in Churdleigh, Lusaka appears not only to have caused fear and apprehension on the levels of insecurity in the country but has exposed that Zambia Police Service which now operates as Zambia Police Limited instead of Zambia Police Service.
It is now a commercial entity where justice has been equated to stocks traded at LUSE where the highest bidder takes the day. However, that is not to say that there are no officers who are professional, highly competent and driven by passion for justice. They are there in numbers and Zambia has greatly benefited from them. However, the compromised and inept officers damage the good works of the police.
This problem is deep rooted and the command has failed to adequately address it even when given clues by the judiciary. In the infamous case of the murder of Cyclone Hardware Director Sajid Mohammed Itowala at house no 1, Ngulube road in Woodlands on the 21st day of July, 2009, events which were well illustrated in the case of The People V Mathews Mohan & 2 others-HP/003/2010, Judge Gregory S Phiri made serious observations on the conduct of Woodlands police officers when he said;
” I have taken quite some time to study police conduct in this case and i am satisfied that the initial investigations (of the murder case) was deliberately made shoddy and inconclusive both interms of the suspects for the murder and the evidence itself. By the time they submitted their docket to the DPP,….key witnesses were not interviewed” The judge further stated
” By failing to obtain the evidence that was readily available within the vicinity of the abduction which occurred on the same street where Mohan lived, the officers who initially attended to this crime aided and abated its commission and failed to observe the law which obliges them to professionally Investigate crimes and bring perpetrators to book.
In conclusion on his observations, the judge said ” Be as it may, the initial deriliction of duty did not affect the final outcome of the police investigation because the officers from ZP Headquarters, who were assigned to take over the case, did their job with professionalism. The police evidence on record clearly speaks for itself”.
It is utterly disturbing that 6 years later, the sentiments made by the Judge echoe with the same force in the police operations. This is despite the Zambia Police Act , CAP 107 of the laws of Zambia, and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder creating a regulatory legal framework to inter alia enable police to effectively fight crime and criminals.
On 23rd September, 2019, Adrian’s mother, known to be a very reserved and generally quite person behaved in a manner that left the family shocked. She confronted the suspects and outrightly told them that she knew who was responsible for her son’s murder. Although she does not have the requisite facilities to collect the necessary evidence, it was clear that she elected to stand for her sons quest for justice owing to the failure by the police to professionally handle the matter. When the police released a very critical person of interest in the murder case, the witch doctor, without conducting a search at his premises, the family lost confidence in the investigators. The police’s explanation that the release was necessitated by the fact that witchdoctor insisted that Ashik engaged him to find his Adrian’s killers was a joke, abeilt not funny. The family helplessly demanded that the withdoctor removes the charms he had planted in the deceased room. So on advise by the police, the witchdoctor went to remove the charms on Monday, 23rd September, 2019. When he arrived, he proceeded and got his black or Indian magic.
As he was about to leave, a human tooth fell on the bed. When confronted where he had gotten it, he just gave a bare denial that it wasn’t him who had dropped it. His explanation did not make sense.
Prior to this incidence, the room had been combed by the Forensic department and all evidence collected.There is also strict restriction to the room. Therefore, considering that the tooth was on the bed, it is not possible that the Forensic experts would have not seen it. Secondly, since the deceased was killed in a brutal manner, the state of the tooth raises more suspicions. It is a full tooth with no blood stains. The deceased had missing teeth. So the nexus between the witchdoctor and murder case is odd. Are these merely odd coincidences or rather a part of a systematic ritualistic escapade that if not stopped will hit another family?
But what shattered Adrean’s mother’s heart and has driven her to the brink is that the lone suspect, the guard has been set free. This is the person who claimed that he did not hear the incidence despite guarding the premises on the material day. Moreover, he was released under cover of darkness. In short, the case has reached a dead end. Atleast in the eyes of the police officers and possibly the killers.
The family has several questions which are not and will not be addressed by a bare statement from the police that all suspects have refused. Circumstantial evidence does not depend on the confession of an accused person. We know that you just need corroborating evidence to bring to book the ritualists.
The question that linger on like a whirlwind are as follows,
1. Have the police come up with a list of person of interest in the murder and what investigation have been done to eliminate each person from the list?
2. Why haven’t they obtained call logs of the deceased, the mother,Mr Nayee, the guard, the witchdoctor, friends who were with him on the day preceeding his murder?
3. Why didn’t they search the witchdoctor when he was in custody?.
4. Why haven’t they reconstructed the crime scene?
5.Did communication between Ashik and the witchdoctor start after the murder or before, what do call records say?
6. Why isn’t the family being interviewed as to disclose if they have suspects or information?
7. Why isn’t the family kept abreast with information but merely given developments by way of confirmation to their queries?.
8. Why hasn’t police come back to critically observe the crime scene and pierce together a possible explanation of events on the material day?
The death of Adrian has not only affected old people but even young ones.
His 6 year old niece last week on Thursday asked her mother “mommy when is uncle Sikabala coming home I miss him”.In reply, the mother explained that he was with God in heaven.
She kept quite then asked, “why can’t you tell God to come with him on Saturday”. The question definitely had no answer. Only tears.
However, in as much as it is not possible for God to bring back Adrian on Saturday, a day that his killers are brought to book will serve as a Saturday that God will tell the family to let go and hopefully make Adrian give his final goodbye with a smile to peacefully join the angels and Jesus in heaven. And definitely, that Saturday is coming , no matter how long it takes.
We await the ZP Headquarters through its command to act in a manner it did in the aforesaid case of Mathew Mohan and uphold the integrity of the police.