In this episode; The setting is Tamale, located in the heart of northern Ghana, Tamale serves as the capital of the Northern Region. Blending tradition with modernity. The streets showcase a mix of heritage and progress, featuring both traditional mud houses and contemporary structures. With the ongoing review of the Falia Cookathon by Guinness World Records, there’s a hopeful anticipation that Tamale may soon become a historic home of world records.
In the heart of Tamale, 22-year-old trader Zelia Sulemana faced the death penalty as a judgment of the court after being convicted of murder. The victim? Rawdia Aminu, a nursing student whose life was tragically cut short. The motive? A web of love, friendship, unchecked jealousy and betrayal.
This sad story begins with a seemingly innocent friendship between two young women. Rawdia is a student nurse and also the ex-girlfriend of Alhassan Abdul -Rahman who was Zalia’s current boyfriend.
Though the relationship between the deceased and Abdul-Rahman ended before he met the Convict, there was still bad blood between the deceased and Abdul – Rahman for which Abdul-Rahman indicated that he would make his girlfriend beat up the deceased.
The convict later became friends with the deceased telling her that she was also interested in becoming a nurse. Zelia, the convict, lured Rawdia into a deceitful plot, going to great lengths, and even introducing Rawdia to her parents as a newfound friend. However, this friendship took a dark turn on April 11, 2014, when the deceased was home when the convict called her that she was outside her house and wanted to see her and the deceased obliged her.
A simple invitation turned into a tragic confrontation. Fueled by jealousy and rage, Zelia confronted Rawdia about her relationship. What started as a heated argument escalated into an act of shocking brutality. Zelia, driven by an unprovoked fit of violence, stabbed Rawdia twice—in the chest and abdomen.
In a desperate attempt to escape, Zelia hopped on a motorbike but was thwarted by a Good Samaritan. Facing the reality that there was no easy way out, Zelia resorted to slashing her hand. A claim followed – that Rawdia had inflicted these wounds. Both were rushed to the hospital, but fate had sealed Rawdia’s tragic end. Post-mortem results showed hemorrhagic shock, massive left haemothorax, and a puncture wound to the left chest wall.
The aftermath saw Zelia unanimously declared guilty of murder. The presiding judge ordered a pregnancy test to determine if the death penalty applied. The result? Negative. However, the judgment remained: Zelia Sulemana was sentenced to death by hanging.
In a passionate plea for justice reform, Lawrence Amesu, the Director of Amnesty International Ghana, stood against the death penalty. On July 25, 2023, the Parliament of Ghana voted to legally abolish capital punishment for ordinary offenses. Will Zalia be pardoned and given a lighter sentence based on this? Find out more on Mayhem.
But there’s more to this story. Different accounts even from Zelia as she presents a case of self-defence, with contrasting perspectives. These have been explored in this recent Mayhem episode, allowing listeners to delve into the details and form their conclusions on this case.
Additionally, guest Helen Appiah Ampofo addressed all the issues and shared her take on the death penalty. It’s an insightful addition that encourages everyone to take a listen and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the controversies surrounding Zelia Sulemana’s tragic story.
New episodes are out every two weeks and are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, YouTube, and wherever you listen to your podcasts with the RSS Feed.