By LUCY PHIRI
A Zambia Army Soldier who is alleged to have murdered his lover, Dr Tasila Tembo between October 24, 2020 and October 26, 2020 broke down in court yesterday as he narrated how he loved his girlfriend and had no intention to harm her.
Nigel Mwaba, who was Dr Tembo’s lover told Lusaka High Court Judge Wilfred Muma, that Dr Tembo was a very generous and caring person.
Previously, after all the prosecution witnesses gave their testimonies, the court found Mwaba with a case to answer and placed him on his defense.
In his defense, Mwaba narrated to the court with tears in his eyes that he never intended to harm Dr Tembo as he loved her so much.
Judge Muma had to stand down the matter for ten minutes after Mwaba began to cry in the middle of his testimony as he was narrating the ordeal.
In this matter, Mwaba, then aged 33, is alleged to have murdered his girlfriend, Dr Tembo,47, a former Ministry of Health deputy spokesperson, between October 25 and 26,2020,after a dispute.
Mwaba however denied killing Dr Tembo, saying he only slapped her after an intense argument they had about her infidelity and the nude pictures and videos he saw in her phone sending to another man.
He told the court he met Dr Tasila between October and November of 2017 during the cause of his duties at the time he was in employment for the Zambia army.
“I met Dr Tasila in Mtendere at the time there was cholera epidemic in most parts of Lusaka, we were deployed to headquarters facilities, and mine was in Mtendere in Kaunda market. Being a public health specialist she was deployed in a similar role as of a civilian. We got alone quiet well and within the same year, we started dating we would exchange visits, she would visit me in Mikango barracks and I would visit her at her home in Meanwood ibex Lusaka,” he said.
Mwaba narrated that about three to four months of dating, they discussed a number of business ventures and concluded they start a business called forever living products.
He said on October 23, 2020 he was tired from his errands and went straight to his room to sleep as he had arrived late, and it was Dr Tembo woke him up.
“I arrived after 18hrs, I slept and I was woken up by Tembo who indicated to me that free transport had been sort to go back to Kasama where she had found a new job with her colleagues the following morning. We agreed to hire out the vehicle Isuzu and it was hired. So she told me she had spoken out to a friend of hers and we decided to go and get the smaller vehicle to help with the errands at home and for Tembo to travel back to Kasama as our vehicle had been hired,” he said.
He further in his defense explained to the court that as they were driving to go and get the smaller vehicle, Dr Tasila received a phone call from a man which didn’t sit well with him.
“As we went to pick the vehicle we needed a third party and I indicated that Lonjezo Tembo, Dr Tembo’s brother comes along so that he could drive as we were tired, it was around 22hours to 23hrs and we started off we decided that we get some beers on the way. We stopped at total filling station in Ibex Hill, i gave Longezo the money, just as he left, Tembo’s phone rang and because of the silence in the vehicle I was able to pick the conversation, I grabbed the phone and discovered it was the same person I talked about, he was a pastor at one of the churches in Lusaka,” he said.
Mwaba said that they had an intense argument as he needed her to clarify who the person was.
“We drove off from the shop leaving Tembo behind who had gone to buy bread, because we needed to talk and she insisted we go and talk, as we spoke in the vehicle, her phone rang again, the caller was not the same person and by then we were on twin palms road, the caller said he wanted to meet her we started following him, As we approached crossroads I asked how far the gentleman was and she indicated that I should be more patient.
Mwaba further narrated that same number in the names of Jimmie a pastor of a named church called and he grabbed the phone, went to WhatsApp communication between the gentleman and Tembo, and I began to forward messages from her phone to his
“When I opened the name of the caller, there was disturbing pictures, nude pictures of her and videos. I sent them to my phone, we continued driving and I held the phone and I noticed the pictures of her naked and also similar pictures of the gentleman naked. The mood was hostile and we were arguing she was demanding for her phone.
We continued arguing, she tried to hold the wheel, repeatedly I used my left hand to push her away, she picked a nail filler and strapped me on the left lower abdomen. I did not feel the pain and at that point, I punched her in the face, I used my left arm because I was going to lose direction, she moved to my hand and grabbed my phone, she immediately opened the door and jumped out and I immediately stopped. That was between Suger belt area near Mikango barracks,” he said.
He said he then came out of the vihecle and picked her up, she was in a crouching position and he picked her and took her to the vehicle.
“I asked why she had to do that, she responded as she looked in the mirror and I noticed some blood in her mouth area, she asked me for some water to wash her mouth and the only liquid we had was alcohol, she asked to give her and washed her mouth.
Whilst trying to ask her she said she was hurt and needed to go to the hospital. At this point I was still very disturbed with what I had just seen on the mobile phone, I continued driving with intent of going to Mikango, she was holding her jaw, my intention was taking her to the hospital at mikango camp hospital. Somewhere after Jobe river I was asking her why she did that, I got no response, I said it again I still got no response, I got my left hand and I shook her, when I shook her she swayed to one side of the door and I at this point I decided to park my vihecle at the side of the road,” he said.
Mwaba told the court he got out of the vehicle and walked to the passengers and he realized she was unresponsive then he opened the door because she was leaning heavily on the door, her weight fell on him and he held her and got her and put her down side of the road.
“I called her name a number of times, I checked her pulse on her wrist and I checked her neck pulse and then realized that there was no pulse on her neck, I checked her breast and realized she was gone,” he said whilst shedding tears.
He said he held her in his hands and realized she had died. He left her there and drove off in a disturbed and confused state.
“I drove off towards south in Mazabuka, checked for a lodge where I slept and the following morning I left her phone, the prayer diary we were using, the book her mother gifted us and the car keys. Came back to Lusaka, I visited her grave at Leopard hill memorial park to pay my last respect that’s where the police officers and Zambia army officers apprehended me from,” he said.
In cross examination, Mwaba accepted having texted Dr Tembo’s best friend, Carol Sinfunkwe Phiri that she doesn’t deserve to live, she deserves to die.
The court has set February 28, 2023 for Judgement.