The ill-fated day, August 24, 2005, on which Avid kingpin Lazarus Kandara died was revisited in the C-court of the Windhoek Lower Court this week, exactly seven months later. On Wednesday, the court started hearing evidence on the last hours of Kandara’s life. Initial indications are that 24 people would be called to the witness box to shed light on the death of the illustrious and self taught investment broker. All those people who shared time with Kandara, especially in the run-up to his gunshot death, are expected to be probed. The exercise is intended to put all pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together to determine how he died and who was responsible for the fatal shot that pierced through is heart. The inquest hearing aimed at probing the death of Kandara in a transparent manner is, however, not open to the public and only the media and his relatives are allowed to witness the proceedings. Since there has been a lot of speculation around his death, it is only fair to conduct an open and transparent hearing into the death Kandara. Immediately following his tragic death a few metres from the entrance of the Windhoek Police Station where he was to be detained, an autopsy was conducted by the police, whose results are still to be released. Apart from the state’s autopsy, the family also requested an independent post-mortem, suggesting mistrust. The family’s post-mortem results are also yet to be released. Results of both autopsies, according to legal minds, would be submitted as part of evidence in the inquest. Whatever the outcome of the inquest, one fact that stands out like the Himalaya above all else is that Kandara was in the custody of the police and for that matter, Safe Custody. What the inquest should then establish is the liability of the police in the killing or suicide of Kandara. If it is established that Kandara committed suicide, then at least the state and the police would not be charged for murder and therefore it is of utmost necessity that the inquest be conducted in the most transparent manner to re-establish the public’s trust in the law enforcement agents. As a matter fact, according to evidence presented by the late Kandara’s lawyer, the police were informed that Kandara contemplated taking his own life. Therefore they should have taken precautionary measures to protect his life. Any family would want to be sure that their loved one is in safe hands when arrested or taken in for questioning by the police. It is for this reason that the police must be exonerated beyond any shred of doubt that they did not contribute to his death in anyway. However, the issue of Safe Custody will haunt the police like a ghost for a long time, and similarly, confidence in the police will take a while for the commoner. During the first two days of testimony more questions have been raised than answers in the circumstances surrounding the death of Kandara. These questions, it is hoped, should be answered during the course of the inquest for the Kandara mysterious death chapter to be closed.
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