KWEKWE — Weston Masiya, an MDC-T councillor-elect, accused of growing a mbanje plant at his Mbizo homestead was on Tuesday acquitted, after the court ruled he had no case to answer.
Masiya, represented by Caroline Mugabe, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of growing mbanje saying he was not even aware of its existence in his garden.
Through his lawyer, he had argued that more than five families stay at his homestead and share the garden in which the approximately one-metre long mbanje plant was found by police just months before the July 31 elections.
“The police just went to Masiya’s house and asked to see the father at the house before arresting him for growing mbanje. They did not even attempt to establish who was responsible for growing it in the first place,” Mugabe argued.
She told the court that the State could not prove for certain that, of all the people who stayed at the house, Masiya was the one responsible of cultivating the illicit plant.
Provincial magistrate Taurai Manwere upheld the defence’s argument, blasting the police for failing to conduct investigations before moving to arrest.
“The police did not take time to investigate so they could establish who, of all the people staying at the house, had planted and cultivated the mbanje,” he said.
“This, they should have done to avoid giving the court that responsibility.”
Manwere acquitted Masiya, who bounces back for a second term as councillor, saying the evidence before the court was not sufficient to warrant a conviction.