Senior Court Reporter
MOSES Mzila Ndlovu, a former co-minister of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration is a free man following his acquittal on charges of armed robbery.
Mzila Ndlovu, who is also an executive member of the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, was being accused of threatening to shoot two firewood poachers and robbing them of $365, car keys, a cellphone and identity documents.
In denying the charges, Mzila Ndlovu told the court that two butchery workers from Bulawayo’s Emganwini suburb – Vupenyu Gumbo and Lucky Dube – were stock thieves as he caught them driving his goats towards their truck.
Prosecutors had said Gumbo and Dube were wood poachers who had strayed into Mzila Ndlovu’s Magazine Farm.
In acquitting Mzila Ndlovu, Bulawayo regional magistrate Trynos Utawashe said the State had failed to prove its case.
“Putting the accused to his defence will be like helping the State to build its case. The evidence brought to court cannot be relied upon and doesn’t establish a case against the accused,” ruled Utawashe.
Mzila Ndlovu’s lawyer, Matshobana Ncube of Phulu and Ncube Legal Practitioners had applied for discharge.
Said Mzila Ndlovu in his defence: “I found Dube driving my goats and he pretended to be chopping firewood. I wanted to effect a citizen arrest and drew a pistol in defence of my property and I had to retain their particulars to be able to trace them.”
He added that he had lost a total of 15 head of cattle since 2006 to thieves and was convinced that Gumbo and Dube wanted to steal his livestock as they were employed at Prospect Butchery.
Prosecuting, Goodluck Katenaire, had alleged that on March 11, 2013, at about 5PM, Mzila Ndlovu, of Sauerstown suburb came across Gumbo and Dube, both of Emganwini poaching firewood on his farm.
The farm is situated near Mbokodo abattoir along the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road.
Allegations were that Mzila Ndlovu pointed his .303 rifle (serial number 12698) at Gumbo and Dube demanding their property before ordering them to lie down at gunpoint.
Vupenyu took out his wallet in order to hand over his licence but Mzila Ndlovu grabbed the wallet, which had $365, a driver’s licence and three business cards, it was alleged.
Dube had no identity particulars on him. Mzila Ndlovu had also allegedly demanded the complainants’ cellphones.
Gumbo allegedly gave him his Samsung E250 with a NetOne sim card while Dube had no cellphone but had his house keys which Mzila Ndlovu took.
Mzila Ndlovu allegedly later directed the two complainants to load the firewood onto their vehicle and follow him to his house.
The two complainants pretended to follow him but diverted and drove to Emganwini police base where they made a report.
The two allegedly went back to the scene of the crime in the company of the police, but it was already dark.
Mzila Ndlovu was arrested on May 19 and property worth only $62 was recovered and the firearm was taken by the police and sent to the Forensic Ballistics for examination and it was proven not to be linked to any crime.