3 wit­nesses lined up for test­fy­ing in home­steads burn­ing trial

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

THREE wit­nesses have been lined up to tes­tify in a case of 10 Mat­shet­sheni vil­lagers ac­cused of de­stroy­ing and burn­ing three home­steads be­long­ing to sus­pected cat­tle rustlers.

The vil­lagers, Peter Mlilo (58), Robert Mlilo (71), Mil­ton Dube (56), Tha­bani Nkala (49), Amosi Ny­oni (66), Ben Mlilo (74), Mgoli Moyo (71), Dan Ncube (62) and De­sire Moyo (82), and Luka Ndlovu (84), all from Chief Ma­suku pleaded not guilty to pub­lic vi­o­lence be­fore Gwanda mag­is­trate, Ms Sheila Na­zombe yes­ter­day.

The mag­is­trate re­manded them to Mon­day on $300 bail each.

In their de­fence, the vil­lagers said they did not par­tic­i­pate in the burn­ing of the home­steads or pub­lic vi­o­lence.

One of the State’s key wit­nesses, Ms Pre­cious Noko, failed to iden­tify the ac­cused as the peo­ple who de­stroyed her home­stead in the may­hem.

Ms Noko, whose hus­band Love­more Moyo was ac­cused of be­ing the ring leader of cat­tle rustling and is on the run, failed to pin­point who among the ac­cused vil­lagers de­stroyed her home­stead.

“These vil­lagers were part of the group which was at my home­stead. I can’t say among them who ex­actly de­stroyed my home. I know of their ring leader but he’s not here in court. There were a lot of peo­ple and these ac­cused per­sons were also there but I didn’t see them,” said Ms Noko.

She told the court that the vil­lagers forced her to tell the me­dia what they wanted her to say in­stead of the truth. “I told peo­ple from the news­pa­pers what I was forced to say. The crowd forced me to tell them what they wanted me to tell the news­pa­pers peo­ple,” she said with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Al­le­ga­tions against the 10 vil­lagers are that on June 1 this year, the vil­lagers act­ing in con­cert with oth­ers who are still at large, mo­bilised them­selves to de­stroy some home­steads at Insindi re­set­tle­ment area.

They wanted to ex­pel the own­ers who they ac­cused of steal­ing their cat­tle.

Prop­erty worth about $12 000 was al­legedly de­stroyed at the three home­steads. — @richardmuponde

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