Ndiweni was on Friday sentenced to 24 months in prison by a Bulawayo magistrate for ordering the destruction of property belonging to banished subjects. Six months was suspended meaning that the chief will serve an effective 18 months in prison.
“The prosecution was spurious, the judgment 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 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,” said Coltart.
“Zanu PF have been deeply angered by Chief Ndiweni’s staunchly independent attitude and principled criticism of all that is so wrong about Zimbabwe today. This politically motivated trial is clearly designed to silence a very troubling voice.”
Coltart said they were angered by the jailing of Chief Ndiweni whom he described as honest, decent, compassionate and principled traditional leader.
“I have no doubt that Zanu PF have scored a major own goal in this sham trial. This shocking judgment and sentence will reverberate throughout Matabeleland and beyond. When I last met Chief Ndiweni (pictured below) he was on his way to Kwazulu Natal to meet South African traditional leaders, who I have no doubt are going to be deeply angered by this matter,” he said.
“All this will ultimately do is further undermine any last remaining respect rural people have for this pitiful, incompetent and corrupt regime.”
Coltart said Chief Ndiweni’s legal team is working on an appeal and an application for bail which will be lodged as soon as possible.