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Zambian President’s Son Sentenced to Death for Killing Woman

October 14, 1991 GMT

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) _ The youngest son of President Kenneth Kaunda was sentenced to death today for killing a woman two years ago. Kaunda cannot issue a pardon unless he wins this month’s toughly contested presidential election.

Kambarage Kaunda, 27, stared impassively behind dark glasses at the judge who sentenced him to death by hanging. Kaunda then raised his hand in the ″V″ for victory salute of his father’s ruling United National Independence Party and was led away to jail to await the outcome of his appeal.

Kenneth Kaunda, in the political fight of his life in presidential elections Oct. 31, was not in court at the time.

Analysts believe that if polling is free and fair, both President Kaunda and his party will be ousted by trade union leader Frederick Chiluba and his Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.

Legal experts say any presidential pardon for the younger Kaunda could come only after the Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal and then on the outcome. The process, attorneys say, will likely take several weeks.

President Kaunda, 67, has had several tragedies in recent years within his family of seven children.

His elder son, Masuszgo, died of AIDS.

Another son, Panji, has been linked to alleged crooked business deals.

At his murder trial Kambarage Kaunda insisted he was innocent, saying he fired in self-defense when he and a friend in a car were surrounded in a Lusaka suburb by a crowd of angry people.

The judge rejected the claim and said Tabeth Mwansa, 20, was shot to death by the pistol-toting young man without cause the night of Sept. 3, 1989.

The judge, Claver Musumali, upgraded the original charge from manslaughter to murder upon examining evidence in the case.

The judge concluded that neither the younger Kaunda nor his companion were injured and their car had not been damaged, showing ″they had not been attacked or threatened of being attacked.″

Instead, the judge found that while Kambarage Kaunda may have fired four warnings shots in the air to scare off about 12 people, ″acting with malice and forethought″ he then shot the woman.

The victim’s father, Goliath Mwansa, tearfully told a reporter outside the High Court after sentencing, ″I’m not even feeling good because my child is not alive. I will only feel better after that man is hanged.″

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Kaunda was sentenced as his father and the ruling party were vigorously campaigning for crucial presidential and parliamentary elections.

Kenneth Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence from Britain in 1964, outlawed all political opposition in 1973 by declaring a one-party state.

But, under pressure at home and abroad, he rewrote the constitution last December to legalize other parties and announced this month’s elections.

It was not immediately clear whether the president would go ahead with plans to attend the 28th biennial summit of the 50-nation Commonwealth, opening Wednesday in Harare.