We find the sentencing of Brenda, Njoya Tembo’s wife to five years’ imprisonment for assaulting a child to be excessive and an abuse of court powers.
Yes, Njoya Tembo himself is a useless piece of cunt. But even his family deserves justice.
During the trial of Hakainde Hichilema for some silly treason charge, Magistrate Greenwell Malumani endeared himself to a lot of Zambians who value the rule of law and justice.
But Malumani should resist the urge to be an overzealous, sadistic punisher. He will lose the respect he has garnered so far. People are not foolish. Zambians, like all people everywhere value and respect judges who ‘rule’ with dignity and fairness. Judges should never be emotional as they deal with life and death, literally.
Assaulting and abusing children is an evil practice that should be curbed. But excessive punishment for offenders is not welcome either. By the way, in criminal matters there is always that lingering doubt as to the guilty of the accused person, more so when the accuser is a child.
We are not convinced that this particular woman has received justice. Punishment should correspond with the gravity of the offence committed.
In this case, a suspended sentence or just one-month imprisonment would have been adequate. We say so because punishment is not just physical. From the time Ms Tembo was arrested, she has endured enough punishment. She has not been herself; she has suffered financially and just the idea of being jailed has been enough punishment on her mind. There is also the idea of fostering reconciliation in families. After imprisoning Ms Tembo, there will never be love in this family. Even the child herself will grow up with a guilty conscious and actually this might prove to be her biggest scar in her life than the physical wounds she suffered at the hands of her aunty. Judges must be aware of psychosocial impacts of their judgements.
Five years’ imprisonment for Mrs Tembo is overzealous, illogical and stupid. Whoever is representing Brenda must appeal to the High Court urgently to have this useless sentence quashed.
Magistrate Malumani should avoid being a sadist. People go or are taken to court for justice not to be abused by judges.