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Chief Ndiweni convicted of destroying property

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Chief Ndiweni

Chief Ndiweni together with 23 of his subjects were yesterday convicted on charges of destroying a villager’s property in Ntabazinduna and will be sentenced today.

Ndiweni (54) and 23 other 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 Prisons 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, 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 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 full well that their actions were illegal after they had been warned by police prior to damaging the property.

“The first accused person’s (Chief Ndiweni) subordinates carried out an order that was illegal. In as much 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 Act, his actions were out of bounds. Although the first accused person is a chief, his powers are limited,” she said.

The magistrate said the acrimony between Chief Ndiweni and Cde Mpofu had no bearing on the matter before the court.

“The court finds that all the accused persons are answerable to destroying the complainant’s property and accordingly, they are found guilty as charged,” ruled Ms Mushove.

Cde Mpofu’s involvement in the case came following Chief Ndiweni’s testimony in court last year during which he claimed the allegations emanated from Cde Mpofu’s efforts to “fix” him after he had filed criminal charges against the politician.

He alleged that Cde Mpofu stole 200 head of cattle from his late father, Chief Khayisa Ndiweni. Chief Ndiweni said he had reported the stock theft case at Mbembesi Police Station, but Cde Mpofu allegedly used his influence as then Home Affairs Minister to make the docket disappear.

Chief Ndiweni further claimed that politics was at play in the matter, accusing Cde Mpofu of influencing Mr Mbele, his wife and members of Zanu-PF to interfere with his traditional court’s order. However, Cde Mpofu in his testimony said Chief Ndiweni was in the habit of making false allegations against the Government and the ruling party due to ignorance since he had spent many years out of the country.

According to court papers, Mr 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.

In July last year, Chief Ndiweni ruled that Mr Mbele and his “adulterous” wife should be banished from Sifelani village, saying “prostitution” will not be tolerated in his area.

The accused persons’ lawyer, Mr Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, early last year asked the court to subpoena Cde Mpofu to testify in court following allegations by the traditional leader implicating him in their arrest.

However, Cde Mpofu, through an affidavit dated July 6, 2018, which was brought to court by his lawyer, Mr Byron Sengweni, declined to testify saying he knew nothing about the matter.

Mr Dube then sought a court order compelling Cde Mpofu to attend court after which the latter was served with the summons. Chief Ndiweni and the other accused persons were denying the violence charges levelled against them by Mr Mbele.

The prosecutor, Mr Leonard Chile, said on July 26, 2017, at around 4 PM, 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 kraal.

“Sibanda instructed the villagers to destroy the fence and kraal. At around 5 PM, Chief Ndiweni arrived and ordered the villagers to continue destroying Mr Mbele’s fence and kraal,” said Mr Chile. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers

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Zimbabwe White Farmers

Zimbabwe agreed on Wednesday to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to Zimbabwe white farmers whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families, moving a step closer to resolving one the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.

But the southern African nation does not have the money and will issue long term bonds and jointly approach international donors with the farmers to raise funding, according to the compensation agreement.

Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 Zimbabwe white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 Black families, arguing it was redressing colonial land imbalances.

The agreement signed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State House offices in Harare showed white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land itself, as per the national constitution.

Details of how much money each farmer, or their descendants, given the time elapsed since the farms were seized, was likely to get were not yet clear, but the government has said it would prioritise the elderly when making the settlements.

Farmers would receive 50% of the compensation after a year and the balance within five years. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and acting Agriculture Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri signed on behalf of the government, while farmers unions and a foreign consortium that undertook valuations also penned the agreement.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing  Zimbabwe white farmers.

The land seizures were one of Mugabe’s signature policies that soured ties with the West. Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died last year, accused the West of imposing sanctions on his government as punishment.

The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself. But its supporters say it has empowered landless Black people. Mnangagwa said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West. Reuters

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NEWS

Chinamasa calls U.S. ambassador ‘thug’ as anti-government protests loom

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Chinamasa

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Monday called the United States ambassador a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of this week’s planned anti-government protests that authorities say are meant to overthrow the government.

Without providing evidence, ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that U.S. ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols, was involved in subversive activities to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Chinamasa’s comments echo the Robert Mugabe era, where the ZANU-PF government regularly accused the United States and Britain of seeking to dislodge it from power.

“He (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of mobilising and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training insurgents, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders,” Chinamasa said.
“Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug.”

The U.S. embassy in Harare did not immediately respond to Chinamasa’s comments. Political tensions are rising fast in the southern African nation after activists called for demonstrations on July 31 against government corruption, which they blame for deepening the worst economic crisis in more than a decade.

Last month, the government summoned Nichols after a senior White House official said Zimbabwe was among “foreign adversaries” using the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd to interfere in U.S. affairs.

The U.S., Britain, E.U. embassies and the United Nations have all criticised Zimbabwe for the arrest of journalists and political challengers.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the West were promising when Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe after a coup in 2017, but have soured over the government’s human rights record.

Patrick Chinamasa urged party supporters to defend themselves from protesters and avoid a repeat of the deadly violence that followed post-election demonstrations in August 2018 and the January 2019 protests over a steep fuel price hike.“No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves,” Chinamasa said. Organisers say this week’s protests will be peaceful. Reuters

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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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