A WARRANT of arrest which had been issued against former Home Affairs and Culture Minister Dr Obert Mpofu for failing to attend court to testify in a case in which Chief Felix Ndiweni and his 13 subjects are accused of destroying a villager’s property has been cancelled.
The complainant, Mr Fetti Mbele of Ntabazinduna, was banished from the village by the chief after his wife Ms Nonkangelo Mpengesi was allegedly caught having sex with another villager.
Chief Ndiweni in July last year ruled that Mr Mbele and his “adulterous” wife should be banished from Sifelani Village, saying “prostitution” will not be tolerated in his area.
Chief Ndiweni’s lawyer, Mr Dumisani Dube, early this year asked the court to subpoena Dr Mpofu to testify in court following allegations by the traditional leader that the Zanu-PF secretary for Administration was behind their arrest and had influenced Mr Mbele to file criminal charges against them.
Dr Mpofu, through an affidavit dated July 6, which was brought to court by his lawyer Mr Byron Sengweni, declined to testify saying he knew nothing about the matter.
Mr Dube, who is representing the accused persons, then sought a court order compelling Dr Mpofu to attend court after which the latter was served with the summons.
When Dr Mpofu did not appear in court, a warrant of arrest was issued against him two weeks ago.
Bulawayo magistrate Nyaradzo Ringisai cancelled the warrant of arrest against Dr Mpofu and he will appear in court on November 19 to give his testimony.
On the day Dr Mpofu was scheduled to testify, he was reportedly in Esigodini preparing for the forthcoming Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference in December.
When Dr Mpofu did not show up, the State subsequently asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest.
Chief Ndiweni told the court that the charges they were facing stemmed from Dr Mpofu’s efforts to fix him after he filed criminal charges against him, alleging that he stole his late father Chief Khayisa’s 200 cattle.
Chief Ndiweni said he reported the theft at Mbembesi Police Station, but Dr Mpofu, who was then Home Affairs and Culture Minister, allegedly facilitated the docket’s disappearance.
Dr Mpofu has since filed a $300 000 lawsuit against Chief Ndiweni over the allegations and the matter is pending.
Chief Ndiweni and 22 others are denying the violence charge levelled against them by Mr Mbele.
The court heard that on July 26 last year at around 4pm, Mbele and his wife arrived from Bulawayo to find some villagers standing outside their homestead.
Kimpton Sibanda (72), a village head and two other villagers, claimed they were ordered by Chief Ndiweni to destroy Mbele’s garden fence and the kraal.
Sibanda allegedly instructed the villagers to destroy the fence and kraal. At around 5pm, Chief Ndiweni arrived and allegedly ordered the villagers to continue destroying Mr Mbele’s fence and kraal. The order followed Mr Mbele’s alleged defiance of Chief Ndiweni’s verdict to divorce his wife.
Chief Ndiweni had given a ruling that Mr Mbele’s wife should vacate her husband’s home, but she did not comply with the order since they had resolved the matter as a couple, prompting the chief to order the destruction of his fence and kraal.