FORMER Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu was yesterday issued with a warrant of arrest by a Bulawayo magistrate after he failed to attend court to testify in a case where Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni and his 22 subjects are accused of destroying a villager’s property.
BY SILAS NKALA
The alleged destruction of the fence and kraal came after Chief Ndiweni reportedly ordered a villager, Fatti Mbele, to divorce his wife for allegedly cheating on him.
Chief Ndiweni’s lawyer, Dumisani Dube, early this year asked the court to subpoena Mpofu to testify in court following indications by the traditional leader that the former minister was behind their arrest and had influenced Mbele to file criminal charges against them.
However, Mpofu, through an affidavit dated July 6, which was brought to court by his lawyer Byron Sengweni, declined to testify saying he knew nothing about the matter.
Dube, who is representing the accused persons, sought a court order compelling Mpofu to attend court after which the latter was served with the summons.
Yesterday, Ndiweni and his co-accused appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Nyaradzo Ringisai where the Zanu PF secretary for administration was scheduled to testify.
But Mpofu visited the court briefly and left, ostensibly to prepare for the Zanu PF national conference scheduled for Esigodini in December.
When a police officer made a roll call for Mpofu, he did not show up and the State asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest.
Meanwhile, Chief Ndiweni told the court that charges they were facing stemmed from Mpofu’s efforts to fix him after he filed criminal charges against the Zanu PF official, alleging that he stole his late father Chief Khayisa’s 200 cattle.
Chief Ndiweni said he reported the theft at Mbembesi Police Station, but Mpofu, who was then Home Affairs minister, allegedly facilitated the docket’s disappearance.
Chief Ndiweni and 22 others are denying the violence charge levelled against them by Mbele.
The court heard on July 26 last year at 4pm that Mbele and his wife, Nonkangelo Mpengesi, 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 reportedly arrived and after the destruction of the property, and allegedly thanked the villagers and threatened to destroy Mbele’s home if ever he repaired the destroyed property.
The order followed Mbele’s alleged defiance of Chief Ndiweni’s verdict to divorce his wife after she was allegedly caught having sex with another villager.
Mbele had taken his wife to the chief’s court over the adultery act.
On July 26 last year, at 10am, Chief Ndiweni convened a meeting at Ntabazinduna Hall, where a consensus pertaining to the adultery case was to be reached.
Chief Ndiweni had given a ruling that 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.
Mpofu has since sued Chief Ndiweni for $300 000 over the allegations, and the matter is pending.