BY SILAS NKALA
TWENTY-TWO Ntabazinduna villagers that were convicted alongside Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni for destroying a fellow villager’s property got a temporary reprieve last week after their sentence was suspended pending an appeal against the sentence.
Ndiweni was sentenced to two years in jail by Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove while the villagers were ordered to perform 525 hours of community service in August.
The outspoken chief was sent to Khami Maximum Prison before he was granted $500 bail pending an appeal against the sentence by Bulawayo High Court judge Thompson Mabhikwa.
And on Friday Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Mjanja suspended the sentence handed down against the 22 villagers.
The 22 villagers represented by their lawyer Dumisani Dube appeared before Mjanja seeking suspension of their sentence pending their appeal against sentence.
They have since appealed against sentence at the High Court.
“The court ordered that they stop reporting for community service pending the outcome of appeal at the High Court,” Dube said.
Ndiweni (54) and his 22 subjects were convicted for damaging Fetti Mbele’s property and a number of witnesses testified, including Zanu PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu.
Prosecutors said sometime in June 2017, Mbele and his wife had a dispute over adultery.
Mbele reported the matter to Ndiweni, who heard it at his traditional court where it was resolved that the villager’s wife should vacate the matrimonial home.
However, the couple later resolved their differences and Mbele’s wife remained at the homestead.
Ndiweni and the 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 pulled down Mbele’s fence and kraal and threatened to destroy his home if he did not vacate the area.
The chief took Mbele’s wife to her parents’ home against the couple’s wishes. Ndiweni also seized their cow and calf as a fine.