FORMER Minister of Home Affairs and Culture Dr Obert Mpofu appeared in court yesterday after he was summoned to testify in a case in which Chief Felix Ndiweni and his 13 subjects are accused of destroying a villager’s property.
Dr Mpofu, who arrived in court in the company of the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs, Cde Richard Moyo and his aides, was scheduled to give his testimony yesterday following allegations by Chief Ndiweni that the Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration was behind their arrest and had influenced the complainant in their matter, Mr Fetti Mbele, to file criminal charges against them.
Dr Mpofu did not testify after Bulawayo magistrate Ms Nyaradzo Ringisai postponed the matter to January 16 next year.
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.
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 implicating him in their arrest.
However, 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 before it was subsequently cancelled last week after he agreed to testify.
On the day Dr Mpofu was scheduled to testify, he was reportedly at 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 head of 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.