Arrest Warrant For Chief Ndiweni After Seeking 2023 Diaspora Vote

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By Mandipa Masenyama

A WARRANT of arrest has been issued for former Ntabazinduna traditional leader, Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni for breaking his bail conditions.

The outspoken Ndiweni who is currently in the United Kingdom (UK) recently petitioned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to pressure President Emmerson Mnangagwa to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote in 2023.

Last Thursday, Bulawayo Magistrate Maxwell Ncube signed the arrest warrant following a request from Canisious Chesango, the officer-in-charge of Mbembesi Police Station.

Chesango accuses Ndiweni (58) of meddling with his High Court bail conditions.

The warrant authorises the police to immediately arrest the former chief upon sight and bring him before the magistrate.

Chesango said Ndiweni was released on bail last year pending an appeal against a two-year prison sentence for malicious damage to property.

As part of his bail conditions, the accused was to report once every week at Ntabazinduna Police Station and also to reside at his Ntabazinduna home.

“The accused defaulted,” Chesango said in his application for the warrant.

Ndiweni was jailed last year for allegedly destroying property worth US$30 when he led 23 villagers to destroy a kraal of a family banished by the chief from the area.

However, his lawyer Welshman Ncube, who is also the MDC Alliance Vice President, secured the former vocal chief’s release on bail pending appeal against the sentence, which the presiding judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa said it had prospects of success.

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

However, Mnangagwa managed to attend the global conference.

Early this month, the former chief handed a petition to Johnson, urging the UK government to support calls by Zimbabweans in the diaspora to be allowed to vote in the 2023 general elections.

“We want the five million Zimbabwean diasporans scattered around the four winds of the earth to be able to vote,” Ndiweni told journalists outside 10 Downing Street soon after handing the petition to Johnson.

He was controversially fired as chief in 2019 by Mnangagwa saying Ndiweni was not the legitimate traditional leader.

Mnangagwa then ordered the immediate seizure of the chief’s government-issued vehicle and all state property in his possession.

However, there was an uproar from certain quarters who argued Ndiweni’s removal was politically-motivated as he spoke against government atrocities.