Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Mashingaidze grilled

Mashingaidze grilled

Rodney Mashingaidze

Rodney Mashingaidze

Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
TWELVE Matobo District villagers, who were arrested for allegedly kidnapping a farm worker employed by district intelligence officer Rodney Mashingaidze, have applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case. The villagers, through their lawyer, Tanaka Muganyi, argued that the State had failed to prove its case as witnesses gave conflicting statements.

Mashingaidze, 40, was recently evicted from Maleme Farm in the district following protests by villagers who did not want him to displace Peter Cunningham, a white commercial farmer.

The 12 elderly men; Philimon Moyo, 72, Killion Masuku, 63, Cornelius Ncube, 63, Partson Ncube, 46, Robert Nyathi, 61, Wilson Nyathi, 45, Patrick Dube, 65, Kenisi Sibanda, 65, Michael Nyathi, 62, Sanni Dube, 63, Job Kaunda, 54 and Gabriel Moyo, 53, all from Shumba Shaba Village in Matobo area under Chief Masuku, pleaded not guilty to kidnap charges.

They are accused of being part of a mob of 40 allegedly armed with axes which allegedly kidnapped Cephas Ndlovu, 56, on March 9.

They allegedly force-marched him for about nine kilometres before he was allegedly rescued by Mashingaidze.

Ndlovu’s testimony contradicted statements by Mashingaidze and the investigating officer, Bakhekha Bakhulu.

In his evidence-in-chief, Ndlovu said he did not call his employer to tell him his life was in danger as there is no network at the farm.

“Your worship, I saw these people as they came close to the farm house which I was guarding. They cut the wire that held the main gate. They began looking for me in the house and I surrendered myself to them, fearing for my life,” said Ndlovu.

He said they inquired about where he came from, told him to pack all his belongings and force-marched him for about nine kilometres before he met his employer.

He did not mention that the 12 villagers were armed with axes and knobkerries.

“Your worship, there were more than 40 people in the crowd but I can only identify three who are here. I don’t know the rest,” said Ndlovu.

In his testimony, Mashingaidze said Ndlovu called him earlier in the morning, notifying him that there was a crowd at the farm’s Chapel which prompted him to notify the Officer-in-Charge of Kezi Police Station.

Muganyi asked Mashingaidze why Ndlovu said he did not call him.

In reply Mashingaidze said: “I cannot say, maybe he forgot”.

The lawyer asked him why Ndlovu had not told the court that his alleged kidnappers were armed, to which he responded: “I can’t say but I think it is out of fear or he forgot.”

Mashingaidze told the court he immediately recognised his employee when he saw the group leading him to an unknown destination.

Ndlovu had told the court that he waved to attract Mashingaidze’s attention.

“How forgetful is your employee? Does he forget everything that you tell him?” asked Muganyi.

Mashingaidze declined to respond.

The district intelligence officer said he recognised two men out of the group, Killion Masuku and Cornelius Ncube whom he had met before.

“I know Masuku because he had been interfering with our stay at the farm and I’m so bitter about that,” he said.

The investigating officer said he arrested the 12 men at the instigation of Ndlovu who had earlier said he only recognised three.

“We arrested all the people who were in white T-shirts inscribed “Singabantu-Sihlonipheni Esigabeni Sethu” and they had no weapons except a few with walking sticks,” said the officer.

The state closed its case with the defence applying for discharge.

Magistrate Ntonga is expected to make a ruling on April 2.


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