CHIEF Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni was yesterday convicted together with 23 of his subjects on charges of destroying a villager’s property in Ntabazinduna and will be sentenced today.
Ndiweni (54) and the 23 villagers pleaded not guilty to damaging Mr Fetti Mbele’s property, but they were convicted by Bulawayo magistrate, Ms Gladmore Mushove.
They were remanded in custody at Khami Prison to today for sentencing.
The matter went on a full trial with a number of witnesses testifying, including Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration, Cde Obert Mpofu.
In her judgment, the magistrate Ms Mushove ruled that the accused persons’ actions were unlawful and a violation of the complainant’s constitutional right. She said Chief Ndiweni and his subjects acted in common purpose.
“In assessing the evidence of the accused persons and the State submissions, it is the court’s finding that all the accused persons acted in common purpose when they destroyed the complainant’s property,” she said.
Ms Mushove said although the villagers’ actions were in compliance with the chief’s order, they acted knowing that their actions were illegal after they had been warned.
“The first accused person’s (Chief Ndiweni) subordinates carried out an order that was illegal. Inasmuch as the chief had a right to banish the complainant from the village by virtue of his judicial authority in terms of the Traditional Leaders, his actions were out of bounds.”