Tempers flare at Mubaiwa trial

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Marry Mubaiwa

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
TEMPERS flared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday after the court shot down Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa’s bid to have her case in which she is accused of attempting to fraudulently register her marriage to the VP heard by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).

Magistrate Lazini Ncube refused to let her approach the ConCourt and ruled that the State could put questions to her although she had chosen not to respond.

Mubaiwa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, however, argued that her client had a constitutional right not to answer any questions put to her by the State.

“The accused has exercised her constitutional right not to answer any questions. We ask for the referral of our matter to the Constitutional Court. We want them to determine whether the accused person, who exercised her right to silence, can be forced to testify or answer the questions from the State,” she said.

But Ncube said the State could continue to quiz Mubaiwa even if she did not respond.

Mtetwa then objected saying: “We want to remind you of your obligations as a judicial officer. Your role is paramount to safeguard the rule of law. You must not be part in violating the rights of the accused persons.”

But Ncube stood his ground, saying he would not grant referral of the matter to the ConCourt.

Prosecutor Michael Reza went on to cross-examine Mubaiwa, who did not respond to any of his questions.

Mtetwa said she would on March 11 file her submissions and wait for Ncube to deliver his judgment on March 29.

Mubaiwa is accused of trying to upgrade her customary marriage to Chapter 5:11 of the Marriages Act without Chiwenga’s consent at a time when the Vice-President was hospitalised in South Africa.

Last week, the High Court said Chiwenga terminated his marriage to Mubaiwa after he paid a traditional divorce token of US$100 in 2019.

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