State wants MP detained at govt psychiatric hospital

Joanah Mamombe


THE State yesterday filed for MDC Alliance legislator Joanah Mamombe to be detained at a government mental institution for an independent assessment by government doctors after her private doctor indicated last week that she was mentally unfit to stand trial.

Mamombe, who is accused of faking abduction together with other MDC Alliance activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, is currently admitted at a private hospital due to a “mental disorder”, but the State claims she is feigning illness to avoid trial.

Prosecutor Michael Reza told magistrate Bianca Makwande that he made the application in terms of section 26 of the Mental Health Act.

Makwande gave the nod for the application despite protests by Mamombe’s lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu who argued that the application should have been made in the presence of her lead counsel Alec Muchadehama who had other commitments in Gweru.

“I am not in a position to proceed with the matter as Muchadehama is in possession of the record of proceedings. Muchadehama is the lead counsel who prepared responses to the application of video footage,” Bhamu said.

The magistrate allowed the State to file its application with the defence team set to file opposing papers today.

Reza told the court that the legislator had on four occasions stalled trial with her lawyers saying she was mentally unfit, hence the need for an independent assessment by a government doctor.

“Dr Fungisai Mazhandu, who testified before the court, brought no proof whatsoever that she was a psychiatrist. She failed to determine how long Mamombe needed treatment, hence, the court needs assistance from government experts to determine a timeframe that Mamombe needs to be certified fit for trial,” Reza said.