BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo’s health has deteriorated after missing scheduled medical reviews because his passport was seized by security agents at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport early last month on his way to South Africa to seek medical attention.
“My failure to travel for medical treatment is causing me a great deal of mental and physical pain. I fear for my health. I feel it every day that is passing that my health is deteriorating. At my age, these medical reviews are a source of strength,” Chombo submitted, as he sought the magistrate’s court to temporarily release his passport for three weeks from June 27 to July 17.
“I am advised that section 48, 51 and 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe gives me right to have access to health service of my choice. More fundamentally, my cancer situation places me in the category of a person with a chronic illness as contemplated in section 76 of the Constitution.”
Pleading with the court to release his passport, he added: “I have no intention whatsoever of absconding. I will stand if the superior court dismisses my plea for a permanent stay of prosecution. I am genuinely seeking specialist medical treatment,” Chombo said.
Chombo is believed to be suffering from cancer. He unsuccessfully filed several applications to the Supreme Court to get his passport, but he was referred back to
the lower courts.
The former minister’s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said he had an outstanding medical review that was recommended by his doctors and his health situation is deteriorating given that he had already missed those examinations.
The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) has assigned four senior prosecutors on Chombo’s matter namely Tafara Chirambira, Clemence Chimbari, Tendai Shonhai and Lovett Masuku.
They asked for the postponement of the matter to Monday for formal oral application and response.
Chombo’s passport was released on May 10 this year, but the former Zanu PF secretary for administration could not travel because the document was seized by security agents while he was about to board a flight to South Africa. The passport was, however, returned to the clerk of court.
The prosecutor, who consented to the release of the passport Tapiwa Kasema was later arrested, prompting NPA prosecutors to protest alleging victimisation.