Chief Ndiweni has been sentenced to an effective 18 months in prison today. He was convicted for malicious damage to property yesterday (15 August 2019) and had been remanded to today for sentencing.
After initially handing the chief a 24 months jail term, Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe suspended six months on the condition that he doesn’t commit a similar offence within five years.
Chief Ndiweni has clashed several times with the government and government official threatened him a few months ago after he called for Western powers to impose sanctions on the country’s ruling elite.
In May this year, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Ndavaningi Nick Mangwa issued a chilling warning to the traditional leader. He said then:
… may we remind Chief Felix Ndiweni that Government and the people of Zimbabwe are watching and watching closely as he goes on with his politics that are clearly not guided by the national and community interests but inspired by some dubious narrow, parochial interests.
A day after Mangwana’s warning, Deputy Defence Minister, Victor Matemadanda characterised Chief Ndiweni as a security threat. He said:
That is a security threat, why does he have to say the President’s term of office will end soon, does he have soldiers or is he training an army? He must leave President Mnangagwa alone and stop such attention-seeking behaviour.
Members of the Mthwakazi Republic Party sang songs of protest inside the court after the sentencing: