Zimbabwe

Village Head Mobilises Villagers Against Police Officers

In Gokwe, Midlands Province, a village head reportedly mobilised villagers to prevent police officers from arresting his wife and two other individuals who were illegally cultivating mbanje (dagga/marijuana).

According to The Herald, the police had to resort to firing warning shots to disperse the crowd and apprehend Brian Kuruwa (36), Talkmore Muzondiwa (30), and Shylet Magigani (32) – all from Kuruwa Village under Chief Nemangwe’s jurisdiction. The trio had been illegally growing dagga along the banks of the Svisvi River.

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The three accused persons have since appeared before a Gokwe magistrate, who convicted them of illegal marijuana cultivation and possession.

Kuruwa was sentenced to a total of four years imprisonment, with one year suspended on the condition of good behaviour.

Muzondiwa received a 24-month prison term, with eight months suspended, while Magigani was sentenced to three years’ incarceration.

The court was informed that during the arrest operation, Muzondiwa’s husband, Joseph Kuruwa (43), who serves as the village head, managed to flee from his home and subsequently mobilized other villagers to confront the police.

In response, the law enforcement officers were forced to fire warning shots to subdue the unruly crowd and apprehend the suspects.

Officer Commanding Midlands Police (Operations), Assistant Commissioner Martin Matambo told The Herald that police recovered 6,500 plants and 170kg of processed dagga.

He said police were alerted that some villagers were dealing in dangerous drugs and cultivating dagga in places along Svisvi River banks which are not easily accessible since it is mountainous.

Police officers went there and found Kuruwa busy watering the dagga plot. Said Asst. Comm. Matambo:

He was arrested and 67 plants of dagga were uprooted from his plot. Subsequent investigations led the police to Muzondiwa’s residence where they recovered a sack of dried dagga.

He said Magigani was also found at her homestead where they recovered three sacks of dagga from her bedroom hut.

It remains unclear whether the village head, Joseph Kuruwa, was arrested for his actions. However, his alleged mobilisation of villagers to interfere with the police operation is likely to result in him facing charges of obstructing the course of justice, as defined under Section 184 of Zimbabwe’s Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

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