Tempers flare during Mubaiwa’s trial

Harare Magistrates Court

TEMPERS flared during the trial of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa as her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, and the prosecution haggled over cross-examination procedures, forcing the court to briefly adjourn.

Mubaiwa is being accused of attempting to kill Chiwenga while he was hospitalised in South Africa in 2019.

Her lawyer became emotional after prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu kept objecting to the way Chiwenga’s security aide Seargent Andrew Mugariri was being cross-examined.

Mtetwa stood her ground and refused to be lectured on how to structure her questions saying if aggrieved by her questions, the State would be given an opportunity to re-examine the witness if it so wishes.

Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka  tried to restore order in the courtroom, but to no avail.

The magistrate then briefly adjourned trial as the prosecutor left the courtroom in a huff.

The trial later resumed  with Chakanyuka warning Mtetwa to respect the court and be examplary in her conduct

“You’re a senior lawyer, how will the young lawyers learn from you?” Chakanyuka asked.

But Mtetwa shot back: “My duty as a senior lawyer is to teach them and not to bend the law to suit their agenda.”

In his evidence-in-chief, Mugariri told the court that when they arrived in South Africa for Chiwenga’s medical attention, he allegedly overheard Health deputy minister John Mangwiro, who was heading the delegation, saying the VP wanted to rest at a hotel.

Mugariri said it was Mangwiro who said he was arranging Chiwenga’s admission to hospital with one doctor Ceiling.

The court also heard that samples of urine drawn from the Vice-President was swapped with samples which were not his.

Mtetwa asked Mugariri who could have swapped the samples when doctor Ceiling extracted the Vice-President’s urine samples in the absence of Mubaiwa.

Mugariri said he did not know who did that.

Mugariri told the court that Mubaiwa would spend an hour or less at the VP’s hospital bed and disappear, but his testimony was in contrast to evidence given by another State witness, Tafadzwa Dzungudza, who told the court that the ex-model would spend five to six hours at the hospital.

Mugariri also told the court that he was the one who removed Chiwenga’s blood-stained T-shirt following a directive from Mubaiwa, but this was contrary to evidence given earlier on by another State witness, Warren Sibanda, who claimed to have undressed the VP.

Mtetwa then asked him if he was aware that by washing the blood-soaked T-shirt, he was destroying evidence required by the court, but Mugariri said there was nothing he could do as he was simply acting on directives.

“If your bosses said shoot the Vice-President, are you going to do that because it’s an instruction?” Mtetwa asked.

“No,” Mugariri replied, adding that he had sold the mobile phone he used to take the pictures of the blood-soaked T-shirt.

He told the court that he was not inside the room where Mubaiwa is alleged to have attempted to kill the Vice-President.

The trial was postponed to April 25 for continuation.

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