‘I grew mbanje to feed my family’

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A 26-year-old man from the Sinansengwe area in Binga who was this week slapped with a 2-year- jail term for cultivating mbanje told the court he planted the drug to exchange it for maize to feed his family since he had no any other source of income.

Binga is part of Matabeleland North which is perenially hard hit by food shortages due to erratic rains and in the last farming season, the area received little rain.

Godfrey Muleya pleaded guilty to charges of cultivation of mbanje when he appeared before Binga resident magistrate Stephen Ndlovu.

The magistrate convicted and sentenced him to two year in jail. Six months of the sentence were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

A further 18 months were suspended on condition he performs 630 hours of community service at Sinansengwe Primary School in Binga starting on September 25.

When asked why he planted the prohibited drug, Muleya said: “I wanted to exchange it for maize to feed my family. I am not working and have no any other source of income.”