BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUMAN rights group, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) has petitioned National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda to intervene in the alleged ill-treatment of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s ex-wife, Marry Mubaiwa.
In a letter dated April 25 addressed to Mudenda, ROHR Zimbabwe United Kingdom chapter secretary Alvina Chibhamu said the manner in which Mubaiwa was being treated was unacceptable.
“We write to your august House with regards to the apparent continued persecution of Marry Mubaiwa, which, in our view, is a typical case of ‘lawfare’ waged against a citizen by a State whose institutions are captured by an elite few,” the ROHR letter read.
“We are concerned about Mubaiwa-Chiwenga’s health condition and how she is being denied the opportunity to travel and seek medical assistance outside Zimbabwe.”
Chibhamu added: “Marry is gravely ill with lymphoedema among a slew of other ailments. Her condition is life-threatening. She is now hospitalised.”
Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues.
A medical report by John Nyahunzvi dated March 29, 2022 indicated that amputation of her forearm is now necessary once she is deemed medically stable.
Mubaiwa was arrested in 2019, and she has since been denied the opportunity to seek medical attention outside Zimbabwe while her condition continues to deteriorate.
She has collapsed twice outside the courts, which have, however, not shown compassion towards her predicament.
“In contrast, Priscah Mupfumira a former government minister who was allegedly implicated in the looting of millions of State funds was given permission to not attend court because she said she was not mentally fit to attend court and was even granted permission to travel abroad on a business trip. The double standards are so glaring. This is such a glaring case of abuse of power against a mother and by extension, her innocent
children,” Chibhamu said.
ROHR said the country’s health facilities were inadequate for Mubaiwa’s health needs, hence she should not be denied an opportunity to travel abroad to seek medical attention.
“This is despite the courts being advised by medical professionals in 2020 that failure to access specialist treatment would have dire consequences for Marry. The specialists’ advice was ignored.”
Chibhamu said the refusal to allow Marry to travel for treatment outside Zimbabwe was a violation of section 76 of the Constitution, which stipulates the right to healthcare.
“At some point, the law was rationally applied by the High Court and Marry was allowed to see her children, but her estranged husband Chiwenga appealed to the Supreme Court several times and irrationally ‘won’ against all odds.”
ROHR pleaded with Parliament to look into the issue as Mubaiwa was being denied her rights as a mother.
“The situation is coming across as if VP Chiwenga and the government are using Marry’s situation as a weapon against citizens, especially women.”
Last month, Mubaiwa was fined $60 000 after being convicted of lying that Chiwenga had consented to solemnise their marriage.
She is back in court on a charge of assaulting her domestic worker.
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