MDC treasurer-general, David Coltart has condemned the lengthy jail sentence passed by a Bulawayo magistrate on a traditional leader, Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna.
Chief Ndiweni was on Friday jailed 18 months by Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove for malicious damage to property.
Coltart believes that the ruling ZANU PF party was involved in the passing of the “utterly ridiculous sentence”. He said:
The prosecution was spurious, the judgement deeply flawed and the sentence utterly ridiculous.
Even if one accepts the deeply flawed State case as fact (which is strenuously denied by Chief Ndiweni), the damage alleged to the property is only RTGS$300, namely US$30, for which Chief Ndiweni has been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
There was no evidence that Chief Ndiweni himself damaged the property, but somehow he has been found vicariously guilty.
This is a profoundly shocking development and the hand of Zanu PF is clearly obvious.
The public at the court (on Friday) was deeply angered by the jailing of this honest, decent, compassionate and principled traditional leader, so much so that riot police had to be deployed in case their anger boiled over.
Chief Ndiweni has over the years been outspoken on the Gukurahundi atrocities. He recently angered Harare authorities when he called for sanctions to be imposed on the ruling elite.
The chief further infuriated the powers-that-be when he attended the MDC Congress in May.