Dr Kowa testifies in Vespers Inquest

By Staff Reporter


A LUSAKA coroner has heard that an analysis of samples of blood, stomach contents and a swab extracted from fourth year University of Zambia student Vespers Shimunzhila who died on October 5 last year during a riot at the institution tested negative for toxicology.

Dr Sumbukeni Francis Kowa, 45, a medical doctor and clinical pathologist, was testifying in an inquest touching on Vesper’s death before coroner Sylvia Munyinya.

He explained that he received blood, stomach contents and vaginal swab on October 9, 2018, from a pathologist from the forensic department which belonged to Vespers.

Dr Kowa said the forensic pathologist requested for toxicology examination on the specimen and he proceeded to analyse the samples.

He said he did not find any evidence of toxic substances from the blood, and the alcohol examination was negative.

Dr Kowa said the swab also tested negative for spermatozoe.

And in cross examination, Dr Kowa said the analysis on the swab he could not determine the cause of death.

He told the coroner he did not examine any specimen from the lungs where suffocation occurs.

And Dr Kowa said he could not exclude the possibility of death as a result of inhaling toxic substance because he did not examine any specimen from the lungs.

He also said he did not do tests to match the specimen to Vespers.

Dr Kowa said the pathologist told him verbally that the cause of death was suffocation.

He said he only did analysis on samples he was given and did not request for more examinations.

And giving a statement in the same inquest, assistant superintendent Mulonda Mulonda, 48, of Sikanze Camp, a police officer based at the UTH narrated that on October 7, 2018, he received a case of sudden death from Chelstone Police Station in which they requested the pathologist to do postmortem and the role he played was that of assistant pathologist.

He said he helped in dissecting the body and collected the specimen as instructed by the pathologist.

Mulonda said he collected four samples; two blood samples, one stomach content and a swab as instructed by the pathologist.

He said the pathologist later instructed his supervisor a Mr Mwenya to take the samples to the drugs and food laboratory.