Ruling on Mamombe today

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

HARARE magistrate Bianca Makwande is today expected to deliver her ruling on the State’s application for MDC Alliance legislator Joanah Mamombe to be committed to a public mental institution for her to be examined by two government medical doctors.

Makwande said she would deliver her ruling today after Mamombe’s lawyer, Jeremiah Bhamu responded to the State’s application filed on Tuesday.

Mamombe is accused of faking her abduction together with other two MDC activists Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri after they were reportedly found dumped in rural Bindura three months ago.

However, the trial date was postponed to September 29 after Mamombe was admitted at Borrowdale Mental Health Institution for mental disorder following her abduction.
Bhamu yesterday challenged the State’s application saying the Mental Health Act did not specify a commitment to a mental institution, but the court could suggest the voluntary submission of the accused to a mental examination.

“Mamombe’s doctor presented facts of both her physical and mental stature. The State simply wants Mamombe to be deprived of her liberty by being committed to a medical institution. The section cannot be used as an instrument to deprive her of liberty,” Bhamu said.

He added that Mamombe could voluntarily undergo examination, adding that she had already done so.

“The State did not pay attention to proceedings when Dr Fungisai Mazhandu told the court about her credentials through letters in the court records, but the State did not challenge her to produce her qualifications,” Bhamu said.

He said section 26(2)(b) of the Mental Health Act gave three alternatives that could be followed to facilitate placement of the accused in a mental institution.

“The statute does not provide that a person must be committed to a mental institution, therefore, the State’s application is not compelling at all,” Bhamu said.

“It states that treatment can be received from any other place, even a private institution. Mamombe can voluntarily undergo examination and she has already done so.”

But State prosecutor Michael Reza said provisions of section 26 had been met and Mamombe’s doctor did not bring evidence to show that she was examining her and no documents were shown to validate the doctor’s identity or qualifications.He said the court had no choice, but to seek a second opinion.

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