MPANDAWANA - A 47-year-old man, Toreva Gwandara of Murande Village under Chief Makore, recently appeared before magistrate Edwin Marecha facing the charges of cultivating mbanje.
He was convicted after pleading guilty to contravening Section 156 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 09:23.
Gwandara was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment but 12 months were suspended on condition that he did not commit a similar offence for the next five years, leaving him with 18 months of effective imprisonment.
When the magistrate asked why he had committed the offence, Gwandara said he used mbanje as a medicinal herb for his swollen legs.
"I had to plant mbanje because I use it to cure my swollen legs as I have been told by one of my relatives that it helps in reducing pain," said Gwandara.
Appearing for the State, Millicent Azangwe convinced the court that on April 09 at around 08:00 hrs, police got information that Gwandara had planted the illicit drug at his homestead.
The police then went to investigate and the suspect led them to his field where they found 237 plants of mbanje measuring between 10 to 85 centimetres tall.local