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Chief Ndiweni, 23 others found guilty of malicious damage to property

Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni has been convicted of charges of destroying property of a villager who had resisted to adhere to an order to leave the area.

Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushowe found the chief and 23 other assailants guilty of the charge.

Magistrate Mushowe remanded the 24 in custody to Friday for sentencing.

Chief Ndiweni and the 23 assailants through their lawyer Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi law chambers had pleaded not guilty to a charge of malicious damage to property.

The court heard that Chief Ndiweni had given a ruling that Fetti Mbele , a villager in his area divorce his wife Nonkangelo Mpengesi after she was caught having sex with another man.

Mbele defied Chief Ndiweni’s order after he had resolved the matter with his wife, prompting the chief to order the destruction of his fence and kraal.

In her judgment, magistrate Mushowe said the State had provided compelling evidence against Chief Ndiweni and his assailants and their actions had violated Mbele’s constitutional rights.

She said although Chief Ndiweni had the right to banish the villager from the area, his actions were unlawful.

“Although the other accused persons acted on an instruction, their conduct was unbecoming. They violated the complainant’s constitutional rights,” said the magistrate.

While on trial, Chief Ndiweni implicated Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu.

The magistrate said the acrimony between Chief Ndiweni and Mpofu had no bearing in the matter before the court.

Chief Ndiweni testified that Mpofu stole 200 cattle from his late father, Chief Khayisa Ndiweni.

He said he reported the stock- theft case at Mbembesi Police Station, but Mpofu allegedly used his political influence to thwart the case.

Chief Ndiweni further claimed that politics was at play in the matter, accusing Mpofu of influencing the villager and his wife to go against his traditional court order.

Mpofu in his testimony, said Chief Ndiweni was in the habit of making false allegations against the Government and the ruling party due to ignorance since he had spent many years out of the country.

The prosecutor, Leonard Chile, said on July 26 last year at around 4PM, Mbele and his wife arrived from Bulawayo to find some villagers standing outside their homestead.

Kimpton Sibanda (72), a village head and two other villagers, claimed they were ordered by Chief Ndiweni to destroy Mbele’s garden fence and kraal.

“Sibanda instructed the villagers to destroy the fence and kraal. At around 5PM, Chief Ndiweni arrived and ordered the villagers to continue destroying Mr Mbele’s fence and kraal,” said Chile.

The order followed Mbele’s alleged defiance of Chief Ndiweni’s verdict to divorce his wife.

They were remanded in custody at Khami Prisons to Friday for sentencing.

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