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Killer declared president’s patient

2023-10-06  Roland Routh

Killer declared president’s patient

A man who admitted that he shot and killed one person and wounded two others was found not guilty yesterday on the basis that he suffered from Schizophrenia at the time of the incidents. 

He was subsequently declared a president’s patient by Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg. A State president patient is an individual who committed a crime because of their mental illness and, as a result, prosecution cannot be concluded.

Sakeus Nghifikwa, who was charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, pleaded not guilty to all counts and his Legal Aid instructed lawyer, Tangeni Ausiku, confirmed the pleas. 

In a plea explanation read to the court, Nghifikwa said he pleaded not guilty because he was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the shootings and could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions at the time. 

He further said he cannot even remember what happened that night. 

State psychiatrist Dr Hilen Ndjaba declared that Nghifikwa, while able to understand court proceedings and able to prepare a defence was not accountable for his actions on the day in question because he is suffering from Schizophrenia. 

As such, he cannot be held accountable. 

The State through deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef did not oppose the findings of Dr Ndjaba but did call witnesses to confirm the charges. 

Nghifikwa was charged with killing Gebhardt Kaulume, by shooting him once in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol on 18 February 2015. 

He was also charged with attempted murder and an alternative charge of negligent discharge of a firearm, for shooting Ndahafa Josefa in the head and shoulder with the same firearm on the same date.

The prosecution was also charging him with a count of attempted murder with an alternative count of negligent discharge of a firearm for shooting at Tweumena Ndeshihafela with the same firearm on the same date. 

His case was previously withdrawn provisionally by Bernedine Kubersky because the prosecutor general’s decision on which charges to charge him and in which court was not ready for several appearances. 

He was released and later re-summoned to appear and on warning.

Yesterday, an eyewitness to the murder told the court that she was at a house where traditional brew is sold when she heard Nghifikwa and Kaulume talking. 

According to her, Kaulume asked Nghifikwa to buy him some and he agreed. While they were sitting, Nghifikwa suddenly told Kaulume that he will kill him and Kaulume asked why.

The next moment she said, she heard a gunshot and saw Kaulume fall to the ground and Nghifikwa going outside. She followed and saw Nghifikwa pointing his gun at Josefa and shooting at her. She could not remember how many times. She then ran to another neighbour to get someone to call the police and an ambulance and when she returned, found Ndeshihafela who was bleeding and told her that Nghifikwa shot her.

Ndeshihafela told Judge Liebenberg that she and the accused were in-laws and stayed in the same residence. 

On that day, she said, he came home, and she heard him and Kaulume talking outside. He then came inside the residence and when he left, he had something in his hand, but she could not see what it was. 

After a short while, she heard gunshots and when she went to see what was going on, found Nghifikwa at the gate. 

He told her ''today I will kill you''. She then picked up her five-year-old daughter and stood facing the accused. He then put the gun against her forehead, and she put down the child and was shot in the shoulder.

Nghifikwa will now remain in the care of a mental hospital or correctional facility that caters for mentally ill patients until the president gives an order for his release on the recommendation of health professionals.

2023-10-06  Roland Routh

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