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Tempers flare at Mubaiwa-Chiwenga marriage trial

Marry Chiwenga
Marry Chiwenga

TEMPERS flared in court yesterday after Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube turned down an application by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry Mubaiwa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to allow her client to seek medical examination before the start of the second day of trial.
The State represented by Michael Reza opposed the application, saying Mubaiwa should have visited her doctor before coming to court.

Mtetwa reminded Reza that he once applied for a warrant of arrest when Mubaiwa first visited her doctor and she had to be brought to court in an ambulance.

“The accused is unwell today and we want to show you the video of what happened this morning. She needs to go and see her doctor until 1115hrs. She is unwell, your worship, I know you ruled that she is well and fit for trial,” Mtetwa said.

Reza interjected, saying Mtetwa should withdraw the words she made to the magistrate.

“In terms of which law does she wants to ask the honourable court to view that video? The normal thing she should have done is to go to the doctor and then come to court,” Reza said.

Mtetwa stood her ground, saying Mubaiwa had been unwell for some time, but Reza continued to apply for a warrant of arrest.

“Your worship, you are in charge of this court, not the State. The State is a part of these proceedings. She is taking evidence from a crucial witness and she needs to concentrate on the proceedings,” Mtetwa said.

Ncube, however, ruled that Mubaiwa should first attend to the proceedings before going to her doctor.

While leading evidence for the State, the witness, High Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, who at the time was acting chief magistrate, told court that he was approached by Justice George Chiweshe to solemnise Chiwenga’s marriage with Mubaiwa.

“I don’t know the accused, Mubaiwa, personally, but in connection with this offence and also that she is the wife of the VP.

“When he (Justice Chiweshe) made that request, I then said I will personally solemnise that marriage. I took that decision because judges are not marriage officers in Zimbabwe. I had become the highest ranking Judiciary officer in Zimbabwe and sending any other junior magistrate would have been disrespectful to the VP.”

Mutevedzi told the court that he then requested identity particulars of the couple from Justice Chiweshe and they were brought to his office by a person whom he could not remember.

“The couple intended to get married on July 2, 2019. When I realised that there was information missing about the residential address, I called Judicial Services Commission (JSC) secretary Walter Chikwana and I thought it prudent to access those details through that office since it was a superior office,” Mutevedzi said.

“Allow me to say when I called Chikwana over the issue, he was a little taken aback and said the VP is not feeling well, but all the same, he acquired all the details for me.”

Mutevedzi said on July 2, 2019, he was accompanied by Thembinkosi Msipa of JSC to Chiwenga’s residence in Borrowdale Brook in Harare. Mutevedzi said they waited for hours on end until they left.

Mutevedzi said he advised Chiweshe who promised to get back to him.

“I don’t know where the State got that I issued a marriage licence. There was no such an application under oath before me. Taking an oath and signing the licence was never done as far as I know,” he said.

Mutevedzi was taken to task on testifying in a case where the accused was not feeling well to which he said he was just a witness not a judge.

“I got your concern, but I can’t because it is not my call,” Mutevedzi replied.

Another witness, Nyarai Bwanya, who was the Vice-President’s aide told the court that Mubaiwa forged a marriage certificate.

Bwanya said she got that from the internet.

Bwanya said when Mutevedzi went to Chiwenga’s residence to solemnise the marriage, Chiwenga was in South Africa receiving treatment.

Chikwana was called to the witness stand and also told the court that he was asked by Mutevedzi to get the VP’s residential address and passport photos to solemnise the marriage.

Mtetwa asked Chikwana if he disputed that the Chiwenga family asked for a wedding to the Mubaiwa family on the day of the lobola ceremony.

Chikwana said he could not dispute it because he was not there.

Ncube postponed the matter to today. Newsday

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