Sunday, 19 December 2021

WARRANT OF ARREST FOR CHIEF NDIWENI


DETHRONED Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni has been declared a fugitive from justice after a Bulawayo magistrate issued a warrant of arrest against the ex-traditional leader for violating his bail conditions.

Ndiweni (58) ceased to be Ntabazinduna chief on November 30 in 2019 and was subsequently stripped of all Government benefits accruing to him.

He was in August 2019 sentenced to an effective 18 months in jail for ordering 23 villagers to destroy property belonging to a family that he had banished from his area.

Aggrieved by the conviction and sentence, Ndiweni, through his lawyer Mr Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Law Chambers, appealed at the High Court challenging the verdict of the lower court and the matter is still pending.

He was, however, later released by Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa on $500 bail pending appeal against both conviction and sentence.

As part of the bail conditions, the judge ordered Ndiweni to report once a week on Fridays at ZRP Ntabazinduna and to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised.

He, however, defaulted and reportedly fled to the United Kingdom (UK) under the pretext of seeking medical attention.

Following his failure to adhere to the bail conditions, police applied for his warrant of arrest in terms of section 33 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act at the Bulawayo magistrate’s court.

The magistrate Maxwell Ncube signed the arrest warrant last Thursday following an application by Inspector Josiah Mamhayo, the officer in charge of Mbembesi Police Station under whose jurisdiction Ntabazinduna falls.

In his application for a warrant of arrest, Insp Mamhayo said there were reasonable grounds of suspicion that he violated his bail conditions.

“From the information available to me there are reasonable grounds of suspicion against Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni that he defaulted the bail conditions. He was ordered to report to Ntabazinduna Police Post as part of his bail conditions, but he defaulted,” said Insp Mamhayo.

“I therefore apply for a warrant of apprehension to be issued in terms of section 33 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Chapter 9.07.”

Mr Ncube signed the warrant of arrest, which empowers police to apprehend Ndiweni upon seeing him.

“To the peace officers of the law proper to the execution of all criminal warrants. Whereas there are reasonable suspicions that Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni defaulted his bail conditions.

“These are therefore in the State’s name to command you that immediately upon sight thereof you apprehend and bring the said accused person or him to be apprehended and brought before the magistrate to be examined by him and be dealt with according to the law,” said the magistrate.

Ndiweni is a known anti-Government activist who has openly declared support for the opposition MDC-Alliance. He has on numerous occasions been caught out on some mischief.

A few weeks ago, his picture circulated on social media while standing outside the UK Prime Minister’s official residence Number 10 Downing Street in London to petition British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to pressure

President Mnangagwa to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote in 2023.

Current legislation limits voting rights to Zimbabweans outside the country who are on official Government assignments.

Any other Zimbabwean living in the Diaspora is required to physically present themselves at their registered polling station to cast their vote.

In October, Ndiweni led a protest outside the British Parliament, urging the UK government to reverse an invitation to President Mnangagwa to attend the COP26 climate change conference held in Glasgow, Scotland.

To their utter dismay and embarrassment, President Mnangagwa managed to attend the global conference. The President also used his UK visit to mount a diplomatic offensive aimed at strengthening the re-engagement drive while calling for the removal of sanctions.

He met several world leaders, including the United States President Joe Biden, Mr Johnson, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Union Council Charles Michel among other global leaders.

It was the first time for a Zimbabwean leader to visit the UK after relations between the two nations were strained after Zimbabwe embarked on the corrective Land Reform Programme in the early 2000s.

Two years ago, Ndiweni sensationally appealed to the international community to escalate sanctions on President Mnangagwa’s Government, claiming it has failed to pursue democracy.

In 2017, he allowed one political party to hold a rally in his area against police decision barring the party to proceed with the rally in Ntabazinduna because the police did not have enough manpower.

Ndiweni also had a stand-off with the then Umguza MP Obert Mpofu accusing him of meddling in his and other chiefs’ affairs.

In 2018, he took the Chiefs Council President Chief Fortune Charumbira and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court seeking nullification of provincial assembly and national chiefs’ council election results held in 2017, arguing that the whole process was marred with irregularities. Chronicle

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