ZVISHAVANE magistrate Sangster Tavengwa has raised concern over the high use of mbanje by local people and called for stiffer penalties for anyone found in possession of the drug.
Tavengwa said he was shocked by the level of use of dangerous drugs in a small town like Zvishavane while convicting Trust Siziba (28) of Makwasha who was found in possession of mbanje.
Siziba was convicted on his plea of guilty for possession of 19 sachets of mbanje which he said was for personal use.
“It is surprising that people in this area love to use mbanje. Mining activities such as illegal gold panning may be the reason, but the issue of drugs is a bad thing and if one starts it, it will be difficult to stop. Therefore there is every reason for such offenders to have custodial sentences as a lesson to others despite the amount of drug one may be found with. Whether it’s just a seed or a sachet, the law will take its course,” Tavengwa said.
He said drug users were tarnishing the image of the town and nation at large as such statistics were recorded.
“What image will it create to your family; this town and the nation at large for possessing such drugs?”
He then sentenced Siziba to two months in prison or $100 fine as a first time offender.
In a related case, Goliath Mlambo (26) told the same court that he could not survive without smoking mbanje saying it gave him strength to whatever work.
Mlambo, who works at a local gold mine, was found with two twists of mbanje at Mandava Stadium.
He seemed to be under the influence of mbanje during the trial as he responded to questions in an incoherent manner.
When asked what he used mbanje for, Mlambo said it had become a part of his life and he used it every time to shun laziness while working at the mine.
“If I take mbanje I gain strength to do heavy jobs,” Mlambo told the court.
Tavengwa asked Mlambo if he needed to be rehabilitated to overcome the addiction and he agreed.
“Do you know that we have a place where you can stay without having contact with the drug where you will be taught to shun laziness without using mbanje? Would you want us to take you there as a way to fight your addiction,” Tavengwa asked.
Mlambo assented but later refused after hearing that the place was prison.
He was then sentenced to 20 days or $50 fine.