By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE opposition Zapu party says it feared controversial Ntabazinduna chief and fierce government critic, Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni could be poisoned in jail.
Ndiweni was jailed 18 months by Bulawayo Magistrate, Gladmore Mushove last week for damaging his subject, Fetti Mbele’s homestead. His other 23 co-accused villagers were sentenced to 525 hours of community service.
Zapu Women’s Union this week organised a prayer meeting for the incarcerated traditional leader at its offices in the country’s second largest city.
The party Women’s Union provincial chairperson, Jane Mlalazi said the prayer meeting was meant to “protect” the incarcerated traditional leader from any harm and poisoning while in prison.
“We are concerned by our chief’s health and safety while in prison. We are praying that God intervenes in his life so that he will not be poisoned like what happened to our commander Lookout Masuku who died following his release from prison,” said Mlalazi.
Although authorities claim that Masuku died of meningitis, some people strongly suspect that he died as a result of poisoning while in prison.
The Zapu Women’s Union boss maintained that Ndiweni‘s imprisonment was more political than criminal.
“We know that there is a political hand in all this. We have not only called this prayer meeting for his release but for his health as well. With this regime, he is certainly in danger,” she said.
Mlalazi warned that the Zapu women are willing to take to the streets until Ndiweni is released.
Another Zapu activist, Therezia Taka also concurred with Mlalazi.
“As a party, we are very worried about the chief’s fate in prison. It is clear that these people wanted him locked up for speaking his piece of mind,” she said.
Ndiweni has rubbed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime the wrong way by openly calling for political reforms and seemingly indicating the Zanu PF leader might not have won last year’s presidential election cleanly.
The traditional leader also attended the opposition MDC congress in May this year.