BULAWAYO magistrate Gladmore Mushove has cancelled a warrant of arrest he recently issued against Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Ndiweni for failing to appear in court last month.
BY Silas nkala
The court has set January 15 as the new date for continuation of trial for the traditional leader who, together with his 22 subjects, face charges of malicious damage to property.
Ndiweni (54) and his co-accused allegedly destroyed property belonging to Fetti Mbele after the latter defied the chief’s order to divorce his “adulterous” wife.
Ndiweni also faces extortion charges for collecting two beasts from Mbele as punishment for defying the directive.
On December 17 last year, Ndiweni defaulted appearing in court, resulting in a warrant of arrest issued against him.
Yesterday, Ndiweni’s lawyer Dumisani Dube confirmed cancellation of his client’s warrant of arrest, saying the traditional leader had explained to the courts the circumstances leading to his failure to attend court on the day.
“The warrant of arrest has been cancelled and the matter has been slated for January 15 and 16 for continuation of trial,” Dube said.
“Obert Mpofu (Zanu PF secretary for administration/ former Home Affairs minister) is expected to testify. He was warned in court during the previous remand to attend, so he must definitely be there.”
Sometime last year, Ndiweni told the court that Mbele had framed him and his subjects, and had been influenced by Mpofu to cause their arrest. Ndiweni said Mpofu wanted to fix him for reporting the former Home Affairs minister at Mbembesi Police Station for stealing his late father’s 200 cattle.
The chief said Mpofu, using his influence as a Cabinet minister then caused the docket to disappear. The testimony led Ndiweni’s lawyer to file for Mpofu to be subpoenaed so that he testifies in the matter.
Mpofu initially refused to attend court through an affidavit submitted to court his lawyer, Byron Sengweni, saying he knew nothing about the case. But Ndiweni’s defence lawyer insisted that Mpofu should attend court just like all witnesses called to testify.