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Husband, wife sentenced for rape and kidnapping

2024-02-01  Roland Routh

Husband, wife sentenced for rape and kidnapping

A husband and wife from northern Namibia were sentenced on Monday in the Oshakati High Court after convictions for rape and kidnapping.

High Court Acting Judge Danie Small sentenced Helena Kaupitwa (47) to N$3 500 or 21 months imprisonment in default on convictions of aiding and abetting a foreigner in entering
and remaining in Namibia, harbouring a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance during school hours, and common assault. She was further sentenced to two years imprisonment, with one year suspended for five years, on a conviction of kidnapping.

Her husband, Sebron Shilongo (55), was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment after three convictions of rape, and one year on a conviction of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. However, the judge ordered that 14 years of the sentence on the first rape conviction, 13 years of the sentence on the second
rape conviction, and the sentence on the defeating of justice
sentence, are to run concurrently with the sentence on the third rape conviction. This leaves the convict with an 18-year sentence. 

His brother, Petrus Shilongo, was convicted of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The latter was sentenced to two years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on the normal conditions. Another relative, Meduletu Shilongo, was sentence to 18 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on the normal conditions, on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Court documents show that Kaupitwa brought an 11-year-old Angolan girl into Namibia in
2015 with the alleged intent to enrol her in school in Namibia. But, instead of enrolling the child in school, she subjected her to work as a maid. It is stated that the child’s mother had asked Kaupitwa during a visit to Angola to take her child, who is bright, and give her school and look after her. She then smuggled the child across the border and did not enrol her in school, but used her as a maid for three years. 

Furthermore, it was stated that during three occasions between 2015 and 2018, Sebron Shilongo raped the child, and threatened to hurt her if she told anyone about the rape. The State had proffered that Petrus Shilongo and Meduletu Shilongo assaulted the child on 1 December 2017 by hitting her with a plastic pipe all over her body with the intent to injure her.

In his ruling, Acting Judge Small said while a child as a single witness is suspect, the complainant in this matter was credible and consistent in her evidence. He added that the evidence of a social worker that the child was severely traumatised by the events, underlines the callousness of the convicted persons.

While the law makes provision for 15-year sentences per rape conviction, theacting judge said the cumulative effect of such sentences would be shockingly inappropriate in the circumstances of this case. In his discretion, Small observed, concurrent sentences on the rape convictions would be appropriate. 

The State was represented by Advocate S Petrus, Kaupitwa by Pombili Shipila, Sebron Shilongo by Mukaya Nyambe, Petrus Shilongo by Gromyko Mukasa and Meduletu Shilongo by Natji Tjirera. - 

2024-02-01  Roland Routh

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