NTABAZINDUNA’s Chief Felix Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni has implored the court to stop treating Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu (pictured) with kids’ gloves and subpoena him to testify in a matter where the traditional leader stands accused of inciting his subjects to destroy a villager’s perimeter fence.
BY SILAS NKALA
The issue stemmed from a court case where the chief and his 23 subjects were charged for allegedly destroying a fellow villager’s fence, accusing him of defying a traditional court directive.
Chief Ndiweni’s lawyer Dumisani Dube yesterday appealed to the court to have Mpofu subpoenaed after it emerged that prosecutor Kudakwashe Jaravaza had not summoned the minister.
He said Mpofu should be treated like all the other witnesses unless it was the court’s decision that he required special treatment.
“I had recently asked the court to subpoena Mpofu as a witness to testify in this case, but the State has not done so.
I believe the minister should have been issued with summons like any other citizen and if he does not do so, it would be proper for a warrant of arrest to be issued against him,” Dube submitted.
In response, Jaravaza told the court Mpofu had filed an affidavit declining to testify in the matter.
“Yes, the defence made this request that the witness must be subpoenaed, but unfortunately, the witness has indicated that he has no interest to come and testify, adding that he had filed an affidavit to that effect,” Jaravaza said.
In his affidavit, Mpofu had indicated he learnt through the Press that Chief Ndiweni had applied to have him summoned to court to testify in his defence.
“I know nothing about the matter between Felix Ndiweni and the State. I was not present when the alleged offence was committed or reported. It is unreasonable that Felix Ndiweni wants to use me as his defence witness when he repeatedly insulted me during his evidence-in-chief and cross-examination,” Mpofu said.
Early this month, Dube asked the court to subpoena Mpofu to testify in the defence case after Ndiweni had previously told the court that the complainant had filed criminal charges against him under the influence of Mpofu and other Zanu PF activists. Ndiweni claimed Mpofu wanted to fix him for raising stocktheft charges against the minister.
Ndiweni said he reported the matter to Mbembesi Police Station and alleged Mpofu used his influence to have the docket “disappear”.
Mpofu, however, said Ndiweni wanted to use the court as a platform to further insult him.
“I cannot testify in defence of a person whom I am suing for defaming me in court and by copy of this affidavit, I humbly urge this court not to be abused by Felix Ndiweni. I have nothing to say in his defence,” Mpofu said.
Dube countered the argument, saying the State was trying to interfere with the court’s directive to summon Mpofu.
“It is clear that the directive is being violated here and we still insist that the minister must be called to appear here. If he does not want to testify, he must come and simply tell that to the court not through an affidavit, unless he has a special treatment than other citizens. Simple summons have no capacity to disrupt court proceedings,” Dube said.
Mushove ruled that the State should serve Mpofu with summons to appear in court and postponed the matter to August 2.