The Mansa High Court has sentenced a 26-year-old man of Kawambwa district to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour for setting two houses on fire.

In this matter, Jonathan Kalobwe was charged with two counts of Arson contrary to Section 328 clause-A of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia; as Amended by Act number 17 of 2007.

Particulars of the offence in the first were that on December 13, last year, in Kawambwa district, Kalobwe wilfully and unlawfully set fire on the house of Peggy Mwenge that was valued at K1,780.

And in the second count, Kalobwe on January 5, 2018, in Kawambwa district, wilfully and unlawfully set fire on the house of Mpundu Mwelwa valued at K2,200.

The matter came up before Mansa High Court judge Mary Mulanda, Monday, for judgement.

Facts before court were that on December 13, 2018, Peggy Mwenge was sleeping in her house around 23:00 hours when she was awakened by her daughter after she saw that the house was on fire.

When the two rushed outside, Mwenge saw Kalobwe watching her house burn and upon seeing her, he ran away.

Evidence on record further shows that Mwenge was able to recognise the convict from the light of the infernal.

And on January 5, around 23:00 hours, Mpundu Mwelwa woke up to see his house burning.

He then rushed outside and with the help of the light from the infernal, saw Kalobwe who was standing, observing the house burn.

Upon seeing Mwelwa, the convict ran away.

A witness also told the court that Kalobwe had bragged that he was on a crusade of burning all the houses of people who testified against him in a case he was once charged with.

Meanwhile, Justice Mulanda observed that during cross examination, the convict never challenged the testimonies of the victims.

She said it was evident that Kalobwe had the motive of burning the houses, adding that the evidence in the matter supported the offence of Arson.

In mitigation through his legal aid lawyer Paul Chavula, the convict begged the court to exercise maximum leniency on him saying he was a first offender who also regreted his actions.

Kalobwe further said through his lawyer that he was a young man and he could change and become productive in society if given a chance.

He added that he had reflected on his conduct the period he had been in custody.

Passing her sentence, Justice Mulanda noted that after carefully considering the facts and what was said in mitigation, the two cases of arson each attracted a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

She therefore sentenced Kalobwe to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour in each count, to run consecutively.

Justice Mulanda added that the convict had the right to appeal within 30 days if he was not satisfied with her ruling.