Tendai Gukutikwa Weekender Correspondent
GROWING 31 plants of mbanje earned a Marange man (47) 12 months behind bars. Gift Pundo of Pundo Village under Chief Marange was convicted on his own guilty plea when he appeared before Mutare magistrate, Miss Perseverance Makala recently.
Pundo did not waste the court’s time as he told the court that the mbanje was for his own use as he was addicted to the drug. He was being charged with unlawful possession or use of dangerous drugs as defined in Section 157 (1) (c) of the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
Miss Makala slapped her with a 12-month jail term, four of which were suspended on condition of good behaviour for the next five years. Pundo will serve an effective eight months imprisonment. Representing the State, Mr Fletcher Karombe, said members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police received a tip-off that Pundo was growing mbanje in his garden.
The police officers proceeded to his homestead, and found him in his garden pruning the mbanje plants. The police details identified themselves and subsequently arrested Pundo. The 31 mbanje plants with an average height of 1,6 metres were uprooted. The plants were not valued.
“Your Worship, I am addicted to the drug and cannot do without mbanje. That is the only reason that I grow it. It is for my own use,” he told the court in mitigation.