BY RICHARD MUPONDE
JUDGMENT in the case in which Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayemangwe Felix Ndiweni is facing allegations of malicious damage to property was on Wednesday postponed to August 5.
Ndiweni (54) and 22 other villagers pleaded not guilty to damaging Fetti Mbele’s property. They appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove, and the
matter went on a full trial, with a number of witnesses testifying, including Zanu PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu.
Mpofu’s involvement in the case came following Chief Ndiweni’s testimony in court last year, where he claimed the case emanated from Mpofu’s efforts to “fix”
him after he had filed criminal charges against him (Mpofu). He alleged that Mpofu stole 200 cattle from his late father, Chief Khayisa Ndiweni.
Chief Ndiweni said he had reported the stock theft case to Mbembesi Police Station, but Mpofu used his influence as minister to make the docket disappear.
Ndiweni claimed politics was at play in the matter, accusing Mpofu of influencing Mbele, his wife and members of the ruling Zanu PF to interfere with his
traditional court order.
However, Mpofu, in his testimony, said Chief Ndiweni was in the habit of making false allegations against government and the ruling party due to ignorance
since he had spent many years out of the country.
“The first accused person [Chief Ndiweni] has been raising false allegations against Zanu PF and the government. His problem is that he has been out of the
country for a long time, hence he has lost touch with the goings-on in the country,” he said.
Mpofu said he didn’t even know the complainant in the matter, saying when the incident happened, he was in Harare.
It is alleged that sometime in June 2017, Mbele and his wife had an adultery dispute. Mbele reported the matter to Ndiweni, who heard it at his traditional
court where it was resolved that Mbele’s wife should vacate the matrimonial home.
However, the couple later resolved their differences and the wife remained at Mbele’s homestead.
Chief Ndiweni and some villagers, on July 4, 2017, went to the Mbele’s homestead, accusing him of disrespecting the traditional court’s verdict by keeping his
wife. They allegedly then destroyed Mbele’s fence and kraal and threatened to destroy his home if he did not vacate the area.
The chief allegedly took from Mbele a cow and a calf as fine and also took Mbele’s wife to her parents’ home against the couple’s wish.