Five other people other Patriotic Front supporters convicted of the murder were sentenced to death on February 5, 2016.
But Chibebe had been on the run and was only in February 2016 after having been on the run in the aftermath of Matapa’s death in Mtendere Township.
High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama on February 5, 2016, sentenced to death five suspects arrested in the murder of Matapa.
The five who were sentenced to death for killing Matapa were Mwewa Yapanshi, 24 of unknown address, Billy Semani Kansenya, 25, Moses Lungu, 31, Maxson Phiri, 39, and Albert Mainsa, 31, all of Mtendere East, who were charged with murder contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
Allegations were that Yapanshi, Kansenya, Lungu, Phiri and Mainsa on February 23, 2015 jointly and whilst acting together murdered Matapa, but they pleaded not guilty.
High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama sentenced the five to death after having found them guilty of the murder of Matapa.
Chibebe had been on the run and was only arrested on February 22, 2016 at the Ministry of Lands where he had gone to seek for services.
In delivering judgment, Court of Appeal Judge Florence Lengalenga sitting as High Court Judge found the prosecution’s evidence contradictory and inconsistent.
Justice Lengalenga has however found as a fact that the deceased was murdered but what was disputed is whether he was murdered by Chibebe as the onus lay with the prosecution.
She said that it was not proven that Chibebe played any part in the murder of Matapa after considering all the evidence adduced in the court.
Justice Lengalenga said it was also not proven by anyone that Chibebe was part of the group that beat Matapa to death.
“In the circumstances therefore I opt to resolve such doubt in the accused’s favour as I do not find any evidence that links him to the commission linking him to the offence, I therefore find that the prosecution has not proved the case against the accused against all reasonable doubt as required by law and consequently ,I acquit him and direct that he is set at liberty forthwith,” She has ruled.
During trial the prosecution called seven witnesses.
Matapa’s death of symptomatic of the political violence that had become part of political party campaigns.