Courts and Law

A sickly Marry Mubaiwa prays for release of passport so she can travel to SA

MARRY Mubaiwa, the estranged wife to vice president Constantino Chiwenga, is praying that the court releases her passport so she can go get treated for her lymphoedema condition which she says surfaced after the White City bombing incident in Bulawayo on 23 June 2018.

Lymphoedema is the swelling in an arm or leg caused by a lymphatic system blockage. The condition is most commonly caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment.

Marry, who this week was wheeled into court on a stretcher complete with emergency medical personnel, says there are no lymphoedema specialists in Zimbabwe and has favoured the courts with documentation to that effect.

Marry’s argument is that she has been on remand for close to a year, been adhering to bail conditions and her application falls under section 126 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

“When I was arrested, I was undergoing treatment for wounds I suffered in a bomb blast in Bulawayo in 2018 and the treatment was undertaken by Dr Johan van Heerden and I hereto attach as Annexure ”F” a copy of a letter from the Doctor confirming that I had indeed been undergoing treatment as long ago as 2018 and what the nature of the treatment was.

“As is clear from the Doctor’s letter, his rooms are in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

“After my arrest, I obviously could not travel to South Africa for medical treatment due to the bail conditions which included the surrender of my passports and reporting to the police on Friday once a fortnight between the hours of 06.00hrs and 18.00hrs.

“Although I had intended seeking a relaxation of these conditions to enable me to continue with treatment under Dr van Heerden’s care, this became impossible after there were Covid-19 travel restrictions which made it impossible for me to travel.

“I nevertheless continued to seek treatment from local doctors but regrettably, the condition of my wounds became worse and my legs and feet continued to swell to a point where I have difficulty in walking.

“The wounds on my arms have become worse and in this respect I am prepared to attend court so that the court can see for itself the extent of the wounds and how I definitely require immediate and urgent treatment.

“If I cannot attend court, I confirm that my legal practitioners can show the court both still pictures and video evidence of the wounds.

“I have consulted many doctors locally and regrettably, none of them have been able to successfully treat my injuries which have become worse with each day. I attach hereto as ANNEXURE ”G” a copy of a letter from Specialist Surgeon MR S. MAKARAWO who has examined my injuries and who confirms that there are no lymphoedema specialists in Zimbabwe.

“Dr van Heerden, under whose care I was at the time of my arrest, has confirmed that he would be able to attend to me in South Africa and I hereto attach as Annexure ”H” a copy of his letter where this confirmation is made.

“Upon the lifting of travel restrictions in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, my legal practitioners wrote to the NPA seeking consent for the release of the passport so that I could travel to South Africa for the necessary treatment. I attach hereto as Annexure ”I” a copy of a letter dated 5th October, 2020 to the Regional Prosecutor, which letter was hand delivered on the same date.

“This letter was followed by many physical visits to the 1st Respondent’s officers who include Mr Reza, Mr Muchemwa and Ms Mushayabasa, all of whom have asked for proof of my need for medical attention in South Africa, which proof has been provided.

“Regrettably, it appears that no one wants to make a decision on this issue which could easily have been consensually dealt with without the need for a formal application,” wrote Marry.

She said the State won’t suffer any prejudice if her application finds favour.

“The cases have been remanded to the 28th January, 2021 and I contend that no prejudice would be suffered by the State if I am allowed to travel to South Africa for the specialized medical attention in the interim.

“The specialist in South Africa has confirmed his availability to attend to me urgently and in the absence of a specialist in Zimbabwe, I have no alternative but to seek medical attention in South Africa,” she said.

Marry says she has been religiously following through her bail conditions.

“I have been religiously abiding by all my bail conditions since they were imposed and I have no reason not to come back to face trial particularly as I consider the charges against me extremely weak.

“In any event, I cannot jeopardise my parents’ property which was used to fulfil one of the bail conditions.

“I otherwise refer to the certificate of urgency certifying the matter as urgent,” she said.

Her legal practitioner also said Marry has no other alternative remedy and her right to life is in jeopardy.

“The Applicant therefore does not have alternative, effective and expeditious remedy than to approach this Honourable Court for alteration of her bail conditions.

“Thus no prejudice will visit the Respondents if Applicant’s bail conditions are altered as prayed for. At any rate, the law ought to protect and save life.

“No one is prejudiced when life is saved. A threat to life has to be dealt with on an urgent basis,” said the lawyers.

The matter awaits ruling at the High Court. ■

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