A TRIBAL chief and former council worker from Canvey has been jailed in Zimbabwe.

Felix Ndiweni, 53, was jailed for malicious damage of property after he ordered a hedge to be destroyed at the home of a woman accused of adultery in the Matabeleland region.

Ndiweni, previously of Maurice Road, Canvey, worked as an auditor for Waltham Forest Council, and served as a director for the dissolved Urban Eco Cycles Ltd, based on the island.

He resigned from the role and moved from the island in 2014 back to Zimbabwe .

There he became a paramount chief of the Ndiweni people in Matabeland, an opposition stronghold to Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He has been a long-term opposer of the president and has supported white landowners whose property has been over-run by supporters of Zanu (PF), the ruling political party in the country.

Ndiweni was put on trial alongside 23 others for malicious damage of property.

They were each handed 525 hours of community service, whilst Ndiweni received 18 months in prison with an additional six months suspended.

He was sentenced at court last Friday after being arrested the day before.

On the Thursday he was taken in by the police and the authorities.

When in custody he shared a video on his Twitter page calling for people to take part in ongoing peaceful, anti-government protests.

He said: “We all have that right to protest. It is in our constitution after all.

“To protest is part of democracy. It’s impossible to have democracy without protest. It’s a package.

“There should be no government at all that should be troubled by such a thing.

“It is not an attack on the Government, it’s speaking out to the administration of the day that they are not happy with something.

He went on to say: “This is Zimbabwe 2019. There’s no need to reject the idea or suggestion that we are in a terrible, terrible situation.

“There has to be a communication.

“Protesting is part of being human. To talk and engage, and bring common sense in what we’re trying to do.”

When his sentence was announced, riot police were called in to break up protesters outside the court room.

According to Zimbabwean media reports, Ndiweni’s lawyers are planning to appeal his sentence, believing the time in prison to be too harsh.

David Coltart, a senator and human rights lawyer, posted on Twitter that Ndiweni had been “unjustly incarcerated” and believed it to be a result of his stance against the president.